- Associated Press - Sunday, February 18, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A new tentative contract agreement between a Minnesota and its teachers would increase support staffing for some students and boost teacher wages, but it leaves many of the demands union leaders pushed for at the bargaining table unfulfilled.

St. Paul school teachers nearly left their jobs in their fight to lower class sizes, guarantee funding for alternative discipline programs and increase the ranks of non-teacher staff, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

But the two-year tentative agreement that union and district leaders have reached gives teachers a one percent pay increase each year on top of scheduled raises for years of experience and education. The agreement also adds 23 paraprofessionals for special education students.

The agreement doesn’t include limits on class sizes that teachers sought. Instead, the agreement would raise allowable average sizes for middle school and high school classes while setting an upper limit on the number of students in any one class.

Union president Nick Faber said teachers aren’t done fighting for certain issues, but that teachers intend to work with district officials instead of waiting for another confrontation at the bargaining table.

“We have to get to a place where we’re not doing the same thing every two years in the exact same way and expecting different outcomes,” Faber said.

Faber said teachers plan to launch a recruiting campaign to increase St. Paul schools’ enrollment to help increase revenue from the state.

“I think next time if we are able to partner on ways of creating more resources, we should see a less aggressive negotiations process,” the district’s Cathey said.

District Human Resources Director Laurin Cathey said the entire agreement is within the district’s budget of just over $2 million a year in added costs.

St. Paul teachers’ union is scheduled to vote on the tentative contract agreement on Feb. 22. If approved the St. Paul school board would vote on the agreement in March.


Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org

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