Teachers, staff try to bring families back to St. Paul schools

Members of the St. Paul teachers union protest outside Wells Fargo.
Members of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers protested outside Wells Fargo's downtown St. Paul office on December 7, 2017.
Solvejg Wastvedt | MPR News

Teachers and school staff in St. Paul are going door to door trying to bring families back to the St. Paul school district.

The educators aim to knock on 10,000 doors over the next six weeks.

Increasing student enrollment would make the district eligible for more state funding. The St. Paul school board recently approved a budget for next year that trims expenses to fill a multi-million-dollar projected deficit.

Teachers will knock on every door on a block rather than targeting families who have left the district, St. Paul teachers' union political organizer Lynne Bolton said.

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"It's not just to get folks to come back to St. Paul Public Schools. It's also to have conversations with people who live in the city of St. Paul about what's happening in St. Paul Public Schools," Bolton said.

Bolton said educators will talk about positive developments in the district, like an alternative discipline approach known as restorative practices.

"Unless you have kids, you're not involved in day-to-day life of schools. So it's a way to let all community members know, 'Hey, here's what's happening in St. Paul Public Schools,'" Bolton said.

The enrollment push is a collaboration between the union and the district, as provided in last winter's teacher contract talks.