St. Paul teachers approve new contract ‘overwhelmingly’

As a strike in the Minnesota Public School district continues into its 10th day, a similar standoff between St. Paul Public Schools and its largest teachers union has been settled. 

One week after St. Paul teachers represented by the St. Paul Federation of Educators (SPFE) averted a strike, educators "overwhelmingly ratified" a new contract on Wednesday.

Specifics of the contract include lowered class sizes by one student in grades 1-3 and 9 and $650,000 to hire six additional school psychologists. 

Educational assistants will receive an average 13.5 percent wage increase. St. Paul teachers and school and community service professionals get a 2 percent annual salary increase over the next two years. 

According to an announcement provided by SPFE the tentative agreement includes improvements to class size language and caps, increased mental health supports, guaranteed recess time for students, one-time recognition payments to all educators and increased educator compensation – particularly for educational assistants who are often the lowest paid employees in the district.

A strike date was set for March 8 after more than 78 percent of SPFE members voted to authorize a strike. Negotiations began last May between SPFE and the district, which are required by state law to bargain a new contract every two years.