St. Paul school officials, union to return to mediation
Officials with St. Paul Public Schools and the union representing its teachers will return to mediation as a strike looms.
If an agreement is not met, the teachers are set to strike Tuesday. According to a district spokesperson, they will alert parents by 5 a.m. on Tuesday morning, which follows the school board's policy for a weather event.
On Monday afternoon, the district proposed an interest arbitration to avoid a strike.
Superintendent Gothard said, “I don’t believe a strike is good for anyone, especially our students. I also don’t believe a strike is inevitable, and interest arbitration is a way to ensure kids are in school while the negotiation process continues.”
The St. Paul Federation of Educators refused the district's request, arguing decisions should be made by those who are in the classroom.
"We're going to go back into mediation, and it is our responsibility as a bargaining team to work seriously to bring those services and supports our students deserve into our classrooms," SPFE President Nick Faber said.
The district issued a statement Monday night saying it is hopeful the two parties will be able to reach an agreement.
We have not yet reached a contract agreement with SPFE.— Saint Paul Public Schools (@SPPS_News) March 10, 2020
We remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached before March 10, which is when members of SPFE have said they will begin a strike. Visit https://t.co/BELR24oyWs or your school’s website for the latest information.
Talks resumed Monday between St. Paul Public Schools and the union representing its teachers who have threatened to strike Tuesday if a contract agreement cannot be reached.
Negotiations continued through the weekend between district officials and the St. Paul Federation of Educators.
Several tentative agreements were reached by Sunday night, but there was no significant movement on bigger contract issues, including additional resources for mental health, multilingual and special education.
Negotiations continue as SPPS teachers get closer to strike deadline
"District leaders don't understand the urgency of these needs. Educators do — we see them every day in our schools," said Nick Faber, president of the Saint Paul Federation of Educators. "Our students can't wait any longer."
Negotiations resumed Monday with a mediator, union spokeswoman Megan Boldt said.
District officials said they're trying to be responsive to the union's call for more support staff, but doesn't have the money to pay for all its requests.
"I believe our students need more social/emotional support, but any additional resources — above the millions of dollars SPPS currently invests in these positions — have to be targeted where the need is greatest," Superintendent Joe Gothard said in a statement.
Negotiations began last May between the union and the district.