According to the superintendent of Minneapolis public schools, the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and educational support workers reached a tentative deal with Minneapolis Public Schools on Friday to end their weeks-long strike.
According to Ed Graff, the superintendent of MPS, the deal occurred after 21 days of discussions.
According to the MFT’s Safe and Stable Schools website, teachers and ESPs demanded living wages for ESPs, institutional reform to increase the recruitment and retention of educators of color, greater mental health assistance, reduced class sizes, and competitive compensation that maintains licensed educators.
Graff stated in a news conference on Friday that negotiations with teachers had “a lot of progress and momentum” on Thursday, followed by success with ESPs.
On Friday, Graff said, an agreement was struck with teachers at 3:30 a.m., followed by an agreement with the ESPs at 3:40 a.m.
The agreement is currently awaiting ratification by MFT members. Details of the deal will not be published until after the vote, according to a spokeswoman for MPS.
“At the end of the day, we were all able to come together and tentatively agree upon what I believe is a fair contract for both our teachers and our educational support professionals,” Graff said.
According to the MFT, the “historic” deal provides significant benefits for students.
“These deals are what 4,500 MFT members went on strike for. Details will be coming out shortly, but it is important to note that major gains were made on pay for Education Support Professionals, protections for educators of color, class size caps and mental health supports,” MFT said in a statement posted online.
97 percent of voting teachers and 98 percent of voting ESPs had voted to sanction the strike after months of negotiations. On March 8, MFT teachers launched their first strike in in nearly 50 years.
Students will return to class on Monday, according to MPS, pending the outcome of the MFT membership ballot.
“We all know that teachers and ESPs are an important part of what makes our schools the learning sites on which our students and families rely. I’m extremely grateful for their work, determination and dedication,” said Graff.
“We have always tried to remain focused on our students throughout this whole process and at the end of the day, again, us coming together is going to be what makes a difference for our kids,” Graff said.
Schools might make up for lost instructional time by adding minutes to the school day, extending the school year, or using non-contact student days as teaching days, according to MPS. Graduation ceremonies will not be interrupted and will take place as scheduled.