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SPFE Mediation Update: March 7, 2020

March 7, 2020


Mediation between SPPS and SPFE concluded this evening after more than 13 hours. 

We reached four tentative agreements today.

Much of our effort has been centered on the union’s proposal to add student supportteams in each of our schools. I believe our students need more social/emotional support, but any additional resources - above the millions of dollars SPPS currently invests in these positions - have to be targeted where the need is greatest. I have directed my team to continue generating creative responses to show our commitment to achieving an agreement on proposal #1.

I am proud of SPPS Achieves, our strategic plan. In a year where SPPS projected enrollment declines and our official count decreased by 1,000 students, I advocated to fund significant work across the district to help us all achieve improved long term student outcomes. Here are some of those investments:

  • Middle School Elective Teachers - $1.8 million
  • School Counselors - $400,000
  • Career Pathways Counselors, Work Based Learning Coordinators, Career Pathway Teachers - $1.9 million
  • Additional Classroom Allocation - $1.4 million
  • Dual Language Immersion Teachers - $700,000
  • Districtwide site level Special Education resources - $3.4 million
  • Multilingual Teachers, Multilingual Counselor - $1.7 million
  • Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) expansion - $850,000

The above total investments of more than $12 million represents only a portion, mainly personnel, prioritized in SPPS Achieves

Members of the Board of Education have been with us throughout the day, and I appreciate them taking time to be close to these important discussions.

I have noticed an increase in rhetoric surrounding these important discussions; and I have reminded my team not to get caught up in divisive tactics and to remain focused on reaching a responsible, student-centered contract settlement. I am doing everything I can to make sure our students are in class on Tuesday.

A strike is not inevitable, and it certainly is not necessary. I would ask everyone involved to consider what good could possibly come from a strike. I would also like to remind our community that SPFE has until March 25 to strike. If we are not completely finished after Monday’s session, there remains time before a strike can take place.

We will be back in mediation on Sunday and I will continue to update you as these important discussions continue.

In partnership,


Joe Gothard