Minneapolis students return to class on Tuesday after teachers strike

After 15 missed school days during the teachers strike, Minneapolis students are set to return to class on Tuesday morning.

Students will be welcomed back to school after teachers ratified a new contract on Sunday. Teachers were actually back in class on Monday for a prep day before classes resume.

Students will be back in class for the next four days before leaving again for spring break next week.

To make up for the time missed, the district is adding 42 minutes to each school day starting April 11. The school year was also extended from June 10 to June 24.

The new deal

Seventy-five percent of teachers with the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers approved the new contract during a weekend vote.

MFT President Greta Callahan lauded the deal that brought better wages for education support staff, more mental health supports in schools, and new limits to class sizes.

However, during a news conference on Sunday night, Callahan repeatedly made the argument that while the union was proud of the results of the strike, they never should have had to go on strike to bring about the changes.

Callahan also called on people who showed support for teachers to change their focus from the district to the Minnesota capitol.

State leaders receptive to increasing school funding

With the teachers union and Minneapolis Public Schools leaders pressing the state to take action on school funding, state leaders in Minnesota seem receptive to their pleas.

Last week, Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Ed Graff said their proposal was going to require the district to get some help from the state.

"The contracts we put forward are going to require us to take a look at our budgets and make some adjustments going forward," Graff said. "We know we’ll have to make those things happen in the next couple weeks and months."

Monday, it appeared that the Minneapolis strike resolution had done little to change the talking points of both sides. School administrators, teachers' unions and Democrats are advocating for more spending. Republicans who control the Senate have not committed to additional funding.

"There are no safe bets in the Legislature," said House Education Chairman Jim Davnie, DFL-Minneapolis, who said MPS officials and people from numerous other districts have been in his committee asking for more state support. "The good news is, the state has the resources to deliver."

Gov. Tim Walz has proposed doubling the education funding formula increase for 2022-23. During last year's budget negotiations, the Legislature agreed to a 2 percent increase. Walz is seeking a 4 percent boost.