Minneapolis teachers have approved a new two year contract by a wide margin, despite controversial new work rules.
The contract includes a two percent pay increase next year and a one percent raise the following year. The contract also gives administrators more discretion to interview and select current staff for teaching positions. It phases out a seniority-based system that has been in place for nearly 30 years.
Minneapolis teachers union president Robert Panning Miller says teachers voted by more than a two-to-one margin for the new contract.
"I would say the result was surprising. It was higher in terms of the yes votes than most people here probably anticipated. By and large, at the end of the day, they want to teach the kids," says Panning Miller.
The state's third largest district sought the changes ahead of a five year reform effort. School officials want to close the achievement gap between minority and white students, stem falling enrollment and avert a looming 100 million dollar budget crisis.
The school board is expected to ratify the agreement at its meeting tonight.