Talks continue between the St. Paul teachers' union and the school district as a possible teacher strike looms. The union and the school district have reached tentative agreements on some issues, but many big-ticket items remain unresolved.
Two of three union groups have reached agreement on items including probation period, sick leave and seniority, according to a district news release. The union includes three bargaining groups: teachers, educational assistants, and a group of other employees that includes cultural specialists and family liaisons. The teachers' bargaining group has reached four tentative agreements on minor issues and is close to agreement with the district on several more items that would be cost-neutral for the district, according to the union.
Still, as of Wednesday morning the two sides had not reached agreement on teachers' demands for smaller class sizes, increased staffing for English language learners and special education students and funding for the discipline approach known as "restorative practices".
Mediation between the union and the district is scheduled to continue for the rest of the week and could extend through the weekend. The union has authorized a strike but has not set a strike date. State law mandates a 10-day cooling off period following the authorization vote before teachers could strike. The 10 days expire Monday.