Minneapolis teachers strike: District urges teachers to return to work

Teachers rallied on Thursday on Day 8 of the strike in Minneapolis. (FOX 9)

With higher wages, caps on class size, and mental health support being the huge sticking points, Minneapolis teachers hit the picket line for yet another day.

"We keep balancing the budget on the backs of the teachers and the educational service professionals and our students. At some point it will break--it's breaking," said special education teacher Leah Wright.

Now, eight days into the strike, the district is urging teachers to get back in the classroom while negotiations continue.

"Our students need to be back in school," said Senior Accountability, Research and Equity Officer Eric Moore. "We can negotiate a contract with our kids back in school."

But, seventh-grade teacher Annie Ellingham says it’s the students they’re fighting for more than anything.

"If we’re successful in changing how the district works," said Ellingham. "This is for them. The rest of their time at Minneapolis schools - things are going to be better for them if we’re able to make changes."

The district did make some progress Thursday, announcing a tentative deal with food service workers. A deal the teacher’s union applauded. 

"The value that we need to demonstrate for our employees is very apparent. We know that," said Superintendent Ed Graff. "That remains a commitment and a focus for all the contracts we’re negotiating."

"A lot of our problems are fixable if we have the people and the resources because we definitely have the will," said Ellingham.