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Members of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, Local 59 have voted to ratify the new contract with Minneapolis Public Schools, bringing an end to a strike that started on March 8.

After a tentative deal was struck with MPS on Friday, 80% of education support professionals (ESPs) and almost 76% of teachers voted in favor of the deal.

It will mean that classes resume on Tuesday, with Monday acting as a transition day for staff. Minneapolis Public Schools were due to commence spring break on Friday, but this will now start on Monday, April 4.

Measures o help make up the class time lost for students includes adding 42 minutes at the end of every school day from Apr. 11, and extending the end of the school year to June 24, two weeks later than planned.

What's in the contract?

Among the agreements struck was changes to ESP pay to bring it "very close to" the $35,000 MFT 59 was seeking, the union said.

The starting wage for ESPs will rise from $19.83 to $23.91 an hour, with temporary agreements – which will need to be renegotiated next year – struck to increase ESP working hours. ESPs will also get $6,000 bonuses, with those serving more than 10 years getting another $1,000.

Teachers will get a 2% salary bump in the first year of the contract and 3% in the second year, as well as getting a $4,000 bonus in the first year.

While this salary rise is the highest Minneapolis teachers have received since the turn of the century, it nonetheless remains below the rate of inflation, and still leaves Minneapolis teachers significantly trailing the pay of teachers in the likes of St. Paul, Bloomington, and Edina.

There are also agreements in place to impose a cap on class sizes, with provisions in place to keep class sizes smaller in schools with higher proportions of students on free or reduced-price lunches.

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There remain exemptions in place however for class sizes to exceed the cap provided other accommodations are made to mitigate the impact, such as providing additional ESP support, or providing additional preparation time.

An agreement was reached on mental health support in elementary schools. MFT 59 says the deal would also mean at least one social worker placed in every school in the city, with a ratio of 1 social worker for every 600 students, reducing for 1 for every 250 at schools with the highest proportion of students who qualify for educational benefits.

And language is also included in the proposal that would provide protections for teachers of color, which the Star Tribune notes would exempt them from "seniority-based layoff and excessing."

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