A St. Paul teacher strike could set back the academic progress of the district's most vulnerable students, Mayor Chris Coleman warned Wednesday.
Teachers are scheduled to take a strike vote Feb. 24. The union and district have been in contract talks since May. Both sides say they've made progress, but still disagree on issues of teacher pay, staffing and class sizes.
During a hearing on the state's achievement gap at the state Capitol Wednesday, Coleman told lawmakers a strike would keep students out of class after already missing five days of school in January because of cold weather. "To lose a couple months, it would just set us back so much so far."
Both sides say they'll continue to negotiate in hopes of avoiding a strike. The next negotiating session is scheduled for Feb. 20.
"I hope we can continue the conversation and continue to agree that we all have shared and similar goals," Coleman said. "But let's not have that fight in a way that hurts our children."