The St. Paul teachers union is turning down the district's offer to sign on to the teacher compensation program known as Q Comp.
Union leaders say they fear the Q Comp program, which uses state and local money to fund teacher training and merit pay, could disappear someday, leaving the district with a gap in funding.
Kimberly Colbert, a St. Paul English teacher and union negotiator, said they would rather seek out funding the union sees as more sustainable.
"We want to be part of negotiating programs and hiring and things like that, that we're going to see for years," Colbert said.
St. Paul Public Schools Superintendent Valeria Silva said she was disheartened by the union's move.
"Given that the state is quickly reaching the funding cap for Q Comp, we have likely lost the opportunity to access $9 million a year in ongoing funding to serve our teachers and students," Silva said.
Last week the Minneapolis school board approved a plan to use $9 million in Q Comp money to help fund teacher evaluation in the district. Teachers will vote on the proposal in coming weeks.
Approximately 100 districts take part in Q Comp. The state has $75 million available each year for the program.
Minnesota's Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius told MPR News recently that next year's funding is nearly dried up after a number of districts recently applied to take part in Q Comp.
Q Comp began under Governor Tim Pawlenty's administration in part to reward teachers with merit pay, if they met certain performance benchmarks.