MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The St. Paul teachers union says its members voted “overwhelmingly” to ratify the tentative contract agreement reached with the school district less than two weeks ago.

The St. Paul Federation of Teachers says 95 percent of those who voted Tuesday supported the contract agreement, which was announced on Feb. 21 following a marathon 24-hour negotiating session between teachers and St. Paul Public Schools.

Mary Cathryn Ricker, the president of the teachers union, announced the results, saying it was a significant step forward for the teachers and the community.

“With their votes today,” Ricker said in a statement, “St. Paul’s teachers have made it clear that they are committed to the community-driven reforms that will help us assure that our schools open the door to success for every child.”

According to a press release, some of the key provisions in the contract agreement include: consistent and transparent limits on class sizes, a commitment to add 42 new professional staff members, an expansion of the system’s pre-kindergarten programs, and a procedure that will allow teachers to start school redesign plans.

As for pay, teachers will receive normal adjustments built into their salary schedule for experience and education levels, the press release said. Also, their compensation will go up an average of 2.5 percent in the first year of the contract and 2 percent in the second. This agreement covers the current school and the next. 

The St. Paul Public Schools Board of Education is slated to vote on adopting the agreement on March 18.