St. Paul Teachers, District Reach Deal

St. Paul Teachers, District Reach Deal

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The St. Paul teachers union and Minnesota's second-largest school district reached a tentative contract agreement early Friday, ending a strike that began Tuesday and canceled classes for some 36,000 students.

The union, which represents about 3,600 teachers and support staff, said it was in the best interest of all involved to settle the contract, given the uncertainty of possible school closures due to the coronavirus.

"Only an unprecedented pandemic and concern over the health and safety of our students and staff stopped St. Paul educators from fighting harder and longer for more resources for our children," said St. Paul Federation of Educators President Nick Faber. "Still, this strike demonstrated the power educators have when they use their collective voice."

Students will return to class Monday.

A vote by union members on the tentative agreement has not been scheduled. The agreement was reached about 3:30 a.m. Friday after more than 19 hours of mediation that began early Thursday.

"Through hours of compromise and a laser focus on placing students above all else, we have a new two-year agreement that targets resources to areas of greatest need," said Superintendent Joe Gothard.

The walkout was the first for the district since 1946. Negotiations between the union and district began last May.

The school district is one of the city's largest employers with about 6,700 staff members and 63 schools.