Updated: 7:58 a.m. | Posted: 5:58 a.m.
St. Paul Public School teachers and support staff have authorized a strike.
The St. Paul Federation of Educators said in a news release that nearly two-thirds of its members voted Thursday and that 82 percent voted yes to strike.
The union said it will announce a strike date next week. State law requires the union to give the district at least 10 days notice before the first day of a strike.
The union is seeking better pay and benefits and a fully staffed mental health team in every building, as well as additional multilingual interpreters.
“No one wants to strike, but St. Paul educators are fed up," said Nick Faber, president of the union. "District leaders aren’t listening to the people who know our students best — the educators and parents who are with them every day.”
Superintendent Joe Gothard said in a statement that the district is offering wage increases in each of the two years of a new contract and investments of more than $1 million in additional student support positions. But he said the district is grappling with declining enrollment and underfunding from state and federal sources.
The district and the union have been bargaining since May. Two years ago, the district narrowly averted a strike, which would have been the district's first since 1946.