Negotiations Update from Supt. Joe Gothard | Feb. 9, 2018

  • Respected colleagues,

    Even as many messages circulate about the conversations happening in mediation with SPFT, I want you to know I continue to remain hopeful.

    I am hopeful we will reach a resolution to the issues that remain between the district and SPFT's bargaining units.

    Most of all, I am hopeful that our colleagues, the employees of SPFT, will not strike.

    I thank you for your patience and calm persistence during this time of uncertainty. It takes all of us, working together in good faith and confidence, to create the future we want for our students.

    We have made significant progress this week and have set aside time both tomorrow and Sunday to reach agreement on all issues, including wages and benefits. Yesterday, SPPS offered to withdraw its proposal regarding changes to the performance improvement process, and to remove restrictions around payroll. As I write this, we have not received a response from SPFT, yet I remain hopeful a response will come today.

    I will be keeping you informed about our progress as the weekend progresses. It's important to me that you know as much as you can in a timely manner so you can be assured that progress is happening.

    In other news, SPPS is proud to invest in the academic choices of East Side families and to reduce overcrowding in our middle schools. The purchase of Crosswinds Middle School is a $15 million investment in our kids that will allow us to save taxpayers from a $70 million bill for constructing a new school. The Crosswinds building will help SPPS provide high quality, forward-looking learning experiences for hundreds of our middle school students.

    Contrary to what you may have heard, by Minnesota law, money used for construction and to purchase buildings may not be used for teachers or instruction.

    As we head into the weekend, please stay positive and keep in mind why we went into education in the first place: because we believe in children and the limitless potential they represent, and because we want what's best for them. This includes buildings that meet their needs -- and a well-managed, fiscally responsible school district.

    In partnership,

    Joe Gothard