St. Paul teachers rally, march to district headquarters amid strike

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The St. Paul's public school teachers are officially on strike.

The St. Paul Federation of Educators and district were in mediation until 3 a.m Tuesday, but could not reach a deal.

Now 36,000 students are out of class.

Superintendent Joe Gothard said its disappointing, but he's still hopeful.

No deal reached, St. Paul educators strike and classes canceled

"We have incredible work yet to do, we have two sides that have distance between them about how to get this contract settled and I am committed to making sure we are aligning where we agree and that we can identify all those areas we differ," he said Tuesday morning. 

Teachers held a rally outside an empty school, then marched to district headquarters where union leaders from around the country joined them.

Thousands also walked alongside each other holding strike signs outside their buildings.

Negotiations started last May with the district and came down to the last four days, and more than 45 hours of talks.

Educators are asking for more mental health supports in schools, more multilingual staff, and additional educators working with students with special needs.

St. Paul school officials, union to return to mediation

The district says those supports would amount to 300 new positions, and $27 million.

The district said it offered to fund a significant number of those positions, but the union turned it down.

"We imagine a future where instead of bungling money on construction projects, we have a nurse in every school. We imagine a future where instead of middle managers, we invest in counselors and special ed teachers. We imagine a future where an educational assistant only needs one job to feed a family," said Jeff Garcia, a first-year teacher in the district.

The district says the teachers will not be paid while on strike, and benefits will end if this strike continues into April.

Both the district and the union have to agree to sit back down and continue mediation, but there are no dates scheduled as of yet.