St. Paul Public Schools closed as teachers go on strike

St. Paul, Minnesota teachers went on strike Tuesday, March 10 after failing to reach a new two-year contract agreement with the school district. (FOX 9)

All St. Paul Public Schools are closed Tuesday, March 10 as teachers go on strike. A mediation session with the St. Paul Federation of Educators lasted until approximately 3 a.m. Tuesday but failed to produce a new two-year contract. School will also be closed on Wednesday, officials announced.

While the school district and teachers' union reached a compromise on some issues, the union’s demand for an increase in mental health, multilingual and special education funding were not met. That means more than 3,000 St. Paul Public School teachers are hitting the picket lines Tuesday for the first time in more than 70 years, forcing schools to close for roughly 37,000 students.

“We wanted to settle this contract and be in school with our students Tuesday morning,” said a statement from SPFE President Nick Faber. “Unfortunately, after more than nine months and marathon bargaining over the weekend, district leaders weren’t willing to move on the issues educators and parents know will help students thrive and break down racial barriers in our schools.” 

“I can assure students, families, staff members and our community that the Board of Education, my team and I did absolutely everything we could to avoid a strike by teachers,” said a statement from St. Paul Superintendent Dr. Joe Gothard.

Schools open for breakfast and lunch

SPPS will offer meal sites during the strike, serving breakfast and lunch to anyone 18 and younger at no cost to families.

Beginning Tuesday, March 10, 24 sites will serve two meals daily, with breakfast from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Students will need their own transportation to get to these sites, which will be open for meals only:

Barack and Michelle Obama Elementary

Battle Creek Middle

Bruce F. Vento Elementary

Chelsea Heights Elementary

Cherokee Heights Elementary

Crossroads Elementary

Dayton's Bluff Achievement Plus

Four Seasons Arts+

Frost Lake Elementary

Galtier Community School

Global Arts Plus Lower Campus

Harding Senior High

Hazel Park Preparatory Academy

Highland Park Elementary

Highwood Hills Elementary

Horace Mann Elementary

Jackson Elementary

Jie Ming Mandarin Immersion

Johnson Senior High

L'Etoile du Nord French Immersion - Lower Campus

Mississippi Creative Arts

Riverview West Side School of Excellence

Rondo Education Center

Washington Technology Magnet School

Kid Space sites open Thursday

SPPS will be staffing Kid Space locations with supervised activities and meals for kindergarten through 5th grade students at no cost to families. Kid Space will begin on Thursday, March 12. More information and registration is available at

Kid Space will be staffed by SPPS employees who will continue working during the strike. The program will be able to serve approximately 4,000 kids. There will be no nurse or health care staff at the sites. 

Details about Kid Space sites and bus stops is available at beginning at 7:30 a.m. and registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. Additional questions can be answered by the SPPS Student Placement Office at 651-632-3700.

St. Paul Federation of Educators demands

SPFE said the union's negotiators presented a plan that would stretch increased staffing over a three-year period to ease budgeting. The union's key demands include:

More mental health support in schools, including more social workers, counselors, psychologists, school nurses and behavior intervention specialists.

More multilingual staff for students and families who need interpreters.

More teachers for students with special needs and more one-on-one attention.

An expansion of restorative practices to build community and a positive climate in schools.

Picketing, rally and march

Striking teachers began picketing at schools throughout St. Paul beginning at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

St. Paul Public Schools response to SPFE demands

The St. Paul Board of Education placed financial limits on its contract talks with all SPPS unions prior to the start of negotiations with SPFE. Those parameters called for wage increases of 1.5 percent in the first year and 2 percent in the second year of any new two-year contract, totaling $9.6 million.

SPPS said the union put 31 proposals on the table totalling more than $50 million, including more than $12 million in wage increases and $27 million to fund 300 new union positions to staff their student well-being and social-emotional support demands. SPPS said the district offered to fund a significant number of those positions, but SPFE said it wasn't enough.

Additional resources for students during strike

Recreation centers that normally open at 2 p.m. during the school year will open at 1 p.m. All other centers will operate normal business hours. For a full list of recreation center hours and locations visit

St. Paul Public Libraries will operate their normal business hours. For a list of locations and hours visit

Drop-in recreation center programs will be available, including open gym times, teen programs and more. For more information, visit

Drop-in library programs will be available, including Homework Centers, Reading Together, Createch, and storytimes. For more information, visit

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory will be offering day camp options for grades K-4. Visit to register. 

St. Paul Parks and Recreation S’more Fun sites will offer full-day programing for registered families. For families not currently registered for the S'more Fun program, limited space is available at our Highland Park and Battle Creek locations. Visit for registration information. 

The Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Rec Check program will open one hour early, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

For questions on programming available from the Parks And Recreation Department, call 651-266-6400 or your local rec center.