Skip to main content

Saint Paul teachers prepared to 'walk the line for our kids'

A strike could begin Tuesday unless last-minute mediation leads to a new contract.

The St. Paul Federation of Educators (SPFE) is warning families to prepare for the possibility of no school at St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) Tuesday due to an ongoing contract dispute with the district. 

At 6 p.m. Monday, the St. Paul Federation of Educators (SPFE) held a gathering to update the community on contract talks, which have been ongoing since last May.  

"We're getting close to an hour where it's hard to say school is on for tomorrow. Our community needs to prepare for this one way or another," said SPFE President Nick Faber.  

"We're going to go back into mediation and it our responsibility as a bargaining team to work seriously to bring those services and supports that our students deserve into our classrooms," said Faber. 

Just after 4 p.m., SPPS Superintendent Joe Gothard wrote a letter to the SPFE encouraging both sides to agree to interest arbitration, which would allow each side to submit a final offer, with a final decision being made by an arbitrator. 

“This is a way to avoid a strike and keep our students in school,” said Gothard. “I don’t believe a strike is good for anyone, especially our students. I also don’t believe a strike is inevitable, and interest arbitration is a way to ensure kids are in school while the negotiation process continues.”

That idea, however, was unanimously rejected by the SPFE executive board. 

"We could settle this tonight, avert a strike and be back with our students tomorrow," said Erica Schatzlein, vice president of the SPFE. "We know that's a possibility and we're hoping that's the outcome. If not, we will walk the line tomorrow for our kids." 

Among the union's demands are salary increases and a "fully staffed mental health team in every building to help address the growing mental health crisis in our schools." It's also aiming to reduce caseloads for special education staff and increase multilingual staff.

There are more than 37,000 students enrolled in the district – the second largest in the state – including a diverse population with more than 125 languages and dialects.

What a strike would mean for families, students (per SPPS)

  • All classes will be canceled for all grades (pre-K through 12th).
  • All after-school activities will be canceled.
  • Varsity athletics and all MSHSL activities will continue.
  • All employees expected to report to work on Day 1 of the strike.
  • All early childhood and special education classes will be canceled.
  • All adult communication classes will be canceled.

Additionally, the school calendar could be modified or extended into the summer if the strike happens.

The district will open several elementary schools daily until 3:30 p.m. for kindergarten through fifth-grade students, with breakfast and lunch provided at no cost to families.

Additionally, more than 20 locations within the district will offer free breakfast and lunch to anyone in the city under the age of 18 during the extent of a work stoppage. 

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-01-17 at 9.39.38 PM

Jordan Greenway runs into Darcy Kuemper, sparks fight

Kuemper got knocked out of the game, leading to the brawl.

Kirill Kaprizov

MacKinnon's controversial goal helps Avalanche top Wild

Kirill Kaprizov's two goals were spoiled by a questionable call.

powell itasca jail jan 2022 resize

Attorney accused of sex assault misses hearing, DMs judge

He was arrested the next day after a warrant was issued,

lorie shaull vulcan snow park st paul winter carnival 2018

Winter Carnival: Get vaccinated or test negative before coming

Organizers are also reminding people to be mindful of the city's emergency regulations.

hospital, emergency room

Driver, 15 years old, hurt when car collides with SUV

The road was wet at the time, the State Patrol said.

Tyler Wahl

Minnesotans have the Badgers back in the national spotlight

Three of Wisconsin's four leading scorers are from Minnesota.

Francisco Liriano

Liriano retires: Remembering his meteoric rise as a rookie

There was no one better than Liriano from mid-May to late-July in 2006.

Related

Saint Paul teachers' union votes in favor of going on strike

Eighty-two percent of union voters are in favor of going on strike.

St. Paul Federation of Educators

36,000 students out of school as teacher strike begins in St. Paul

A strike begins immediately after failed negotiations reached a deadline.

St. Paul teacher strike

How a St. Paul teacher strike will impact students, families

If a strike happens, all pre-K through 12th-grade classes will be cancelled.

89787397_10156661392626682_4863681331755745280_o

Deal reached: St. Paul teacher strike ends, school to resume

Classes are set to resume on Monday, March 16.

classroom

Take a look at St. Paul Public Schools' back-to-school planning

Families will have the option for distance learning no matter what the state decides.

St. Paul teachers to take a vote on strike action

Union leaders are trying to negotiate a settlement with the school district.

St. Paul teachers cancel strike after reaching tentative agreement

The deal halts a strike that was scheduled to begin Tuesday.

bus driver shortage, school bus

St. Paul Public Schools announces 'last-minute' school bus disruptions

K-12 students are set to begin the 2020-21 school year on Sept. 9.