Minneapolis teachers rally for new contract outside board meeting

Minneapolis teachers rally for new contract outside board meeting

Minneapolis teachers rally for new contract outside board meeting

More than 200 teachers with Minneapolis Public Schools rallied outside the district’s school board meeting Tuesday evening to demand a new contract and a 16% pay increase over the next two years.

It’s the first contract negotiation for the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers since Superintendent Dr. Lisa Sayles-Adams took over as the district’s superintendent last Monday.

MFT President Greta Callahan told the crowd their intent was to let the school board and new superintendent hear their voices.

“We’re going to go inside, and we’re going to show our power so we hopefully we don’t have to keep going through this song and dance,” Callahan said.

The MFT says after reviewing the district’s finances, MPS can afford significant pay raises for its teachers and educational support professionals.

However, district leaders say it needs to reduce $90 million in spending for the next year to remain financially sound.

Education Minnesota Vice President Monica Byron said higher pay commensurate with other districts in the metro is needed to keep student enrollment from declining.

“And you are right to stand up for the pay and benefits that you deserve,” Byron said.

RELATED: Minneapolis teachers union asks state for mediation in contract discussions

At this point, educators have been working on an expired contract for seven months, and the union has met with the district for 11 negotiating sessions.

Tuesday’s rally also comes after some teachers staged walkouts at the end of the school day on Wednesdays, which started two weeks ago.

Minneapolis Public Schools issued the following statement:

“MPS invites our community to review the session summaries and watch the livestreams as we strive to be open and transparent as expressed in our values.

“Minneapolis Public Schools is currently going through the 2024-25 budget process which requires cutting at least $90 million in expenses due to the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (also known as Covid-19 funding) ending in September. We will continue to share information with our community at forthcoming board meetings as we move through the budget process.”

Minneapolis Public Schools

A negotiation session between the school district and teachers union is set for Feb. 22.