By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Thousands of St. Paul teachers are set to vote on whether or not they will go on strike.

They haven’t walked off the job since 1946.

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The Saint Paul Federation of Educators has a variety of proposals, including interpreters in schools, more support for special education classrooms, and mental health teams in every school.

“Families are dealing with more trauma than ever,” teacher and SPFE president Nick Faber said. “It is a reality.”

The union is also asking for salary increases more than what the district is willing to pay. St. Paul’s superintendent has said the district is facing “limited finances”.

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Superintendent Dr. Joe Gothard told WCCO in part:

“While we are extremely disappointed the union has decided down a path to voting for a strike, that will not deter our efforts to reach a fair settlement, one that puts the needs of students first, is fiscally responsible and is equitable with agreements we’ve reached with our other collective bargaining units.”

“I want parents to know that their teachers love their kids,” Faber said. “They don’t take these steps lightly.”

The union will vote on Feb. 20. If they do vote to strike, they have 10 days before they can walk off the job.

Both sides have said they would like to reach an agreement to avoid a strike.

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The SPFE represents 3,500 educators including teachers, social workers, and counselors, across more than 60 schools.

Kate Raddatz