ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCOC) — In just hours, teachers in one of the Twin Cities’ largest school districts could go on strike.
Teachers in St. Paul have threatened to walk off the job Tuesday, canceling classes at all public schools.READ MORE: Alec Baldwin Fired Prop Gun That Killed Cinematographer, Injured Director On Movie Set (CBS News)
No resolution yet, as both sides negotiate down to the final hours. As divided as the parties are, they both tell WCCO they agree that St. Paul students deserve more support.
The Saint Paul Federation of Educators members have spent six months asking for more funding. They asked for funding for multi-lingual staff and other support.
“Our students need mental health supports, they need people with them,” explained Erica Schatzlein teaches EL in a St. Paul Public school. “They need people with them every day for the traumas they experience like housing insecurity and financial instability in their homes, homelessness.”
And on the eve of a potential strike, national union leaders chimed in on what’s happening in St. Paul Schools.READ MORE: 3 People Shot In Separate Minneapolis Shootings Thursday Night
Randi Weingarten, President of AFT spoke Monday morning in St. Paul.
“Strikes happen when educators are at tables begging, trying to get the services children need,” Weingarten said. “Educators want what children need, teachers want what children need. That is why you’ve seen this set of rolling strikes across the country the last two years.”
District officials say they are working hard to avoid a strike -and to be respectful to taxpayers while trying to find a way to better support students too.
Superintendent Joe Gothard said in February, “There isn’t this great feeling of animus as we look to work together to how we can grow and work together and collaborate. We just haven’t moved quickly enough between right now what we are able to invest and what the request are from our partners at SPFE.”
Now time will tell if the disagreement means St. Paul will have a premature Spring Break.MORE NEWS: Data Show COVID Cases In Minnesota Schools Have Declined, But Experts Still Watching For Long-Term Trends
The district says parents will be notified as soon as it is clear as to what is happening. If school is out, meals will be served at several schools, and if the strike is still in place on Thursday, childcare will be offered for kids in K-5.