MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After St. Paul public school teacher’s strike authorization vote Thursday, 82 percent of members that voted say they’re ready to walk off the job.

St. Paul Federation of Educators President, Nick Faber, insists that the union’s priorities are firm.

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“They know we’re asking for the things that their students need,” Faber said.

Faber says that teachers want more special education support, interpreters and especially, mental health teams in each school.

“They are in front of students every day — the students they love and want to serve. And they know what the students need and they feel like their requests for what the students need are not being heard,” Faber said.

But the district says state and federal government cuts leave it underfunded by $80 million. In addition, enrollment is declining.

In a statement, Superintendent Joe Gothard tells parents, “I can assure you the district is doing everything possible to reach an agreement before a strike happens.”

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“I’m hoping calmer heads will prevail from both sides,” Dave Elmstrom said.

But with Thursday’s strike vote, Elmstrom and his wife will make contingency plans.

“There’s some days you just have to be at work and hope one spouse can be home. We’re fortunate our kids are a little more self-sufficient now but when they were younger it could be a real challenge,” Elmstrom said.

Others call it a delicate dance between better schools and keeping a lid on rising property taxes.

“But the next generation is what’s most important and preparing our kids for the future requires quality teachers,” Keith Johnson said.

In 2018, a deal was struck a day before a strike was to begin.

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If the union serves strike notice to the district on Monday, the earliest teachers could strike would be March 5.