MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It appears that the St. Paul Federation of Teachers and St. Paul Public Schools are not making much headway in negotiations.
Teachers will walk off the job if a deal can’t be worked out by Tuesday.
The teachers’ union says one of their top priorities is to get mental health teams in every school. The teachers are also asking for more multilingual and special-needs staff. These priorities represent just six percent of the district’s budget.
Negotiations are ongoing, but teachers like Erica Schatzlein say they are frustrated with a lack of progress.
“What’s most important to educators is to be able to show up every day and feel like they are doing a good job, and we feel like we are doing a good job when we feel like our kids’ needs are being met. That is what is most important every day,” Schatzlein said.
Parents like Katie Schroeder say they are hoping for the best outcome.
“I know that all of my kids’ teachers care a lot about my kids and the students in my school, so I am confident that what they are doing is right for my kids and my schools,” Schroeder said.
A release says there was some limited progress made Saturday. St. Paul educators urged district leaders to reorder priorities in the $750 million annual budget to better reflect the various supports student’s need. Both sides were still negotiating as of 9:30 p.m. Saturday.
“District leaders are desperately out of touch and missing the mark on what students need, SPFE President Nick Faber said. “Do public schools need more money? Absolutely. But the district could do better with the money it has to spend, and we are asking school officials to prioritize students over adults.”
Mediation is scheduled for Sunday and Monday in hopes of reaching a settlement before a March 10 strike date.
“I remain committed to doing everything I can to ensure our students are in class on Tuesday. Mediation is scheduled today, Saturday, Sunday and Monday,” Gothard said. “My team and I want nothing more than to reach a contract agreement that is fair to SPFE members, equitable to other SPPS union contracts and responsible to the taxpayers of St. Paul. Our students and families expect nothing less.”
The union authorized the strike in late February. The last time St. Paul teachers went on strike was in 1946.