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Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) have given teachers a "last, best and final offer" to teachers who have been on strike since March 8 but educators say they'll continue to "hold the line."

The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT 59) said the district sent them the offer at 7 p.m. Tuesday, which included "the exact proposals that they had sent over around midnight" Monday.

The union said it responded to the district's offer with a proposal "that would settle this contract once and for all" but the district "literally walked out of the building," and didn't stay to discuss it with the union. 

The district, in its 6:30 p.m. update Tuesday, said the union returned a counter-proposal that was "$20 million more costly than their previous proposals, bringing the difference between MPS and MFT proposals now to $167 million."

MPS said Tuesday evening it made a "last, best and final offer" to the union with "hope of reaching agreement." The district said its proposals include class size caps in contracts; a starting salary of $50,000 for teachers, with scheduled wage increases and $3,000 in bonuses over the next two years; "robust protections" for teachers of color and "additional strategies to recruit and retain teachers of color"; and a full-time social worker in each school.

MPS says that its salary rise offers to teachers is higher than was agreed by St. Paul Public Schools with its teachers, but St. Paul teachers are paid on average significantly more than Minneapolis teachers in the first place.

The union's latest proposal (read it here) notes the union and district have agreed on language that would require a full-time social worker in each school, class size caps and protections for teachers of color. Among the areas where the two sides differ are bonuses and scheduled wage increases.

The union says it reduced its salary rise offer in exchange for enhanced $10,000 bonuses for teachers over the next two years – which it says can be covered by one-time federal COVID funding.

The teacher chapter of the union said it should know by 8 a.m. Wednesday if it will be called back in for contract negotiations.

Support staff strike continues

MPS's "final offer" for teachers comes a few days after the district presented education support professionals (ESP) with a "last, best and final offer." And the union says the district has not interacted with the ESP chapter since it sent the offer over the weekend.

The ESP chapter says support staff knows they need to "hold the line" until the district agrees to a $35,000 starting wage per ESP.

"We know we can get it done and we're ready to go," Shaun Laden, president of the ESP chapter of MFT 59, said in a bargaining update on Tuesday night.

School to go into June

The nearly 30,000 students who attend Minneapolis Public Schools have been out of school since the strike began on March 8.

This has caused students to miss enough school that they're below the annual state requirement of 165 instructional days, as well as the grade-specific total hours of instruction.

This week, MPS told families they can anticipate school will go longer into June to make up for the missed days in order to meet the requirement. A calendar hasn't been finalized. 

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