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Tentative deal reached, with St. Paul teachers' strike vote looming

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The St. Paul Federation of Teachers and St. Paul School District have reached a tentative labor agreement ahead of a strike vote previously planned for Monday, Twin Cities media report. That vote has been canceled.

Instead, the teachers’ union is expected to meet Monday to discuss the agreement, WCCO reports. Details of the tentative deal were not immediately released. The two sides in the talks planned to issue a joint statement later Friday, the Star Tribune reported.

MinnPost notes that, according to the district, the deal allows for:

– the means for ensuring consistency and predictability in class sizes
– the appropriate role and higher quality of standardized student assessments
– the maintenance and expansion of high-quality early-learning opportunities
– several other issues, such as school redesign, National Board Certification, positive behavior and intervention supports for students, and greater family involvement.

St. Paul Schools Superintendent Valeria Silva tweeted:

The agreement was announced after 24 hours of negotiations between district and union officials. At issue is the teachers' 2013-15 contract.

The teachers’ union has argued for a cap on class sizes and specific staffing levels for support professionals such as counselors.

The teachers also have sought an 11 percent wage and benefit increase over two years as part of the new contract, KSTP says.

The Star Tribune says the average St. Paul teacher salary is $68,436, which is part of a wage-and-benefit package that totals about $92,000. The paper says prior to Thursday's session, the district and the teachers were about $9 million apart on their proposals for compensation.

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