St. Paul educators continue to negotiate in hopes of reaching a contract settlement
St. Paul, Minnesota, March 8, 2020 — St. Paul educators continued to negotiate with district leaders into Sunday evening in hopes of reaching a settlement that builds the schools students deserve.
Several tentative agreements were reached Sunday by 8:45 p.m. But no significant movement was made on additional mental health, multilingual and special education supports and expanding restorative practices to start eliminating the racial disparities in our schools.
“District leaders don’t understand the urgency of these needs. Educators do — we see them every day in our schools,” said Nick Faber, president of the Saint Paul Federation of Educators. “Our students can’t wait any longer.”
Students have increasing mental health needs. In the 2019 Minnesota Student Survey, 19 percent of eighth-grade girls in Saint Paul Public Schools said they seriously considered suicide in the last year. And 40 percent of fifth-graders agreed with the statement, “I worry a lot.”
Families in St. Paul schools speak 129 different languages, but many don’t have access to multilingual staff to help them feel welcome and fully participate in their school community. SPPS only has 13 full-time Spanish interpreter positions working in 63 schools and 9 Somali interpreters in 45 schools that need them.
Mediation is scheduled for Monday in hopes of reaching a settlement before a Tuesday strike date.
Negotiations began last May between SPFE and the district. The union offered 31 proposals and filed for mediation in November because the district never offered counters to many of those proposals.