MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The three-week Minneapolis teachers’ strike may soon be over. The two sides reached a tentative agreement, potentially resolving the issues that caused the strike in the first place.
The Minneapolis Teachers’ Federation continued to meet on Friday. The union says it has made gains on a number of important issues, such as compensation for education support professionals, protections for educators of color, class sizes and mental health support.
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“I am very pleased to report at this time that we have reached an agreement in principle,” said Ed Graff, superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools.
Just before 4 a.m., the district and educator unions reached a tentative agreement after weeks of bargaining and picketing.
“It’s kind of a blur. The days turned into weeks, months and weekends. I’m really grateful that we were able to come together at the end of the day,” Graff said.
Press conference: the district discusses a tentative agreement
Although few details were released, the superintendent said the district will be taking a close look at its monetary funds in the coming weeks, after projecting a $21.5 million budget shortfall for next year.
“The contracts we have offered are going to force us to review our budgets and make some adjustments going forward,” he said.
But Graff and district leaders say they are eagerly awaiting the return of students to class.
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“Today is a new day for our children, for our schools and for our district,” said school board chair Kim Ellison.
Although both parties are optimistic, the union is quick to point out that this is a tentative agreement and that the contract has yet to be ratified.
“We sat at the table for hundreds of hours with these people to get this deal done and we’re happy with the results of what we’ve seen,” said Shaun Laden, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers.
Press conference: union leaders discuss tentative agreement
Union leaders say they were able to add class size caps and they say they won significant pay increases for education support professionals. They say they also won historic job protections for educators of color. And they are pleased with the progress made for mental health in schools.
“We have mental health support teams, we won in elementary schools. We’ve doubled our nurses, our counselors in elementary schools,” said Greta Callahan, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers. “This is a historic day. This is a historic fight.”
Union members are expected to vote on the contract this weekend, and more than 28,000 students in the district could return to school on Monday.
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The district is also looking for ways for students to make up for lost class time. They said graduation would not be affected and the graduation date would not change.