St. Paul teachers will soon decide to stage a strike as they seek smaller class sizes, better pay and expanded programs for students in the school district.
The Federation of Educators of Saint-Paul (SPFE) announced Thursday that the union’s executive board had voted unanimously to authorize a strike vote, which will be held on Thursday, February 17.
SPFE says the decision, which came after “months of negotiations and eight mediation sessions”, was reached with “overwhelming support from SPFE members through a petition”:
“After two years of teaching and supporting our students and families during a pandemic, we did not make this decision lightly,” the press release read.
The union says St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) has “engaged in minimal discussions on issues important to educators and proposed removing key provisions from our contracts such as class size limits, guaranteed supports for student mental health and building surrogates.”
In addition to smaller class sizes, the union is also seeking “fully staffed mental health teams in every building”, more support for students with disabilities and a “living wage” for educational assistance.
Educators also say SPPS is only offering a 1.5% salary increase, while surrounding school districts are offering “significantly higher raises for educators” — a situation that SPFE says will “hinder our ability to attract and retain teachers and support staff”.
With a strike vote looming, St. Paul teachers took to the streets for a protest on Saturday, joined by their counterparts in Minneapolis — who are currently lobbying their own district to improve student wages and conditions, among other things. claims.
Both groups braved the freezing cold to walk from Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis to Hillcrest Regional Park in St. Paul:
By KARE 11SPPS Superintendent Dr. Joe Gothard told a news conference on Friday that the union’s demands are not on budget because the district ‘cannot spend more money than it receives “.
The station says it has also noted recent improvements made by the district, including an increase in the number of counselors and social workers.