The combined SPFT bargaining team met from noon to 7pm today. Educational Assistants and School and Community Service Professionals saw some movement at the bargaining table but few tentative agreements. Teachers also do not have any new tentative agreements to report.
Before getting into more details, organizers are contacting building leaders about a Strike Preparation Meeting that will be held at SPFT’s offices on Wednesday, February 7 at 5:00pm. We need at least one person from each building to attend.
In good news, the district presented a counter on our first proposal, where we asked the district to partner with us to find additional sources of revenue. As part of the counter, the district officially removed Q Comp from the bargaining table. Additionally, we received a counter on class size that begins to move in the right direction.
The district refused to fund programs that we know would benefit our students. The still have not presented a proposal to our Restorative Practices proposal. They also admitted that the district is not meeting the minimum requirements for educating our English Learners, but they are unwilling to budget money to ensure our EL students are receiving a quality education.
Our Educational Assistants and our School and Community Service Professionals have yet to see the district demonstrate respect for their work at the bargaining table. We hope to see movement at the table tomorrow that proves the district values their work.
Two school board members and the superintendent came to the beginning of negotiations today. The superintendent read a prepared statement and the school board members shared a few words as well. The bargaining team was happy to see them but wished they would have actually participated bargaining small group discussions.
Tomorrow, we will discuss special education, Restorative Practices, the cost neutral proposal list, and the district’s multiple anti-union proposals. The bargaining team is disappointed that we had to vote for a strike for the school board and the district’s HR team to seriously engage with our proposals.
With tomorrow’s update, we’ll be sending out information about School Safe Sites. In the event of a strike, we will be setting up neighborhood School Safe Sites across Saint Paul for students who depend on schools for meals, safety, and other needs.