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29,000 Minneapolis kids return to class Tuesday as union ratifies new contract

(The Center Square) – More than 29,000 Minneapolis kids can return to school Tuesday after striking teachers have canceled school for the 15th day.

Members of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) on Sunday voted to ratify their new contract with Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), ending a strike started March 8 with the union seeking “a living wage” for Education Support Professionals (ESPs), smaller class sizes, and “safe and stable schools.”

MFT says that the contract includes significant wage increases for ESPs, improving students learning conditions, and protections for teachers of color. Few contract details have been released, and neither the union nor MPS returned a request for comment on new contract terms.

On Friday, MPS Superintendent Ed Graff welcomed the kids returning to school.

“Families wanted their children in school,” Graff said in a video. “They definitely had experienced enough disruption with the COVID pandemic.”

The agreement includes taking Monday off for a transition day. Other changes to make up for missed time include:

  • Students will attend school on Friday, April 1– moving the currently scheduled teacher record-keeping day to Saturday, April 23.
  • Beginning on Monday, April 11, add 42 minutes to each school day for the remainder of the school year.
  • Change the date for the end of Quarter 3 to Thursday, April 21; change the date for the beginning of Quarter 4 to Friday, April 22.
  • Extend the end of the school year to Friday, June 24.

Axios reported that the district is facing a $21.5 million budget deficit for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

The state’s education funding formula is based on enrollment, which has declined at MPS from 32,732 to 29,100 between 2019 and 2022.


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