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SPFE Mediation Update: March 4, 2020

March 4, 2020

I am writing with an update on today’s mediation session with the Saint Paul Federation of Educators (SPFE), which represents 3,600 Teachers, Educational Assistants and School and Community Service Professionals.

There was very little progress made toward a new contract.

My team and I are doing everything we can to ensure our students are in school next Tuesday. However, we remain divided over SPFE’s proposals, which total more than $50 million; and how much funding SPPS actually has available to invest with SPFE, which is just under $11 million.

The Board of Education has made it clear: SPPS will not commit to spending money we don’t have. The taxpayers of Saint Paul have made it clear: SPPS needs to use its existing resources as efficiently and effectively as possible. And I have made it clear that any new contract with SPFE needs to be equitable to the District’s contracts with our other unions.

We have the will and creativity to reach an equitable, sustainable contract agreement. I've received many letters urging us to invest in mental health proposals. However, we do not have the funds for everything SPFE is proposing.

I do remain hopeful we can reach an agreement and avoid a strike. We have mediation sessions each day through Sunday, and I have asked that we also meet on Monday if an agreement isn’t reached by the end of the weekend.

My resolve to our students, families and community is to reach a contract settlement.

In partnership,


Joe Gothard