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SPPS Sets Guiding Principles for Negotiations

Colleagues:

I am writing to provide clarity around contract negotiations with the approximately 27 collective bargaining units in SPPS. Several of those groups have already started the negotiation process; several others will begin in the coming days and weeks. These are important meetings founded in honesty, transparency, professionalism and accountability.

All negotiations will be driven by the District’s guiding principles, which include:

  • Students First - We will promote an inclusive culture focused on student growth and achievement
  • Professionalism - Honest, direct and respectful discussion and communication focusing on issues not people or personalities
  • Pride in Excellence - Creating a school system in which families, staff and community can take pride
  • Fiscal Stewardship - Working within our budget to responsibly meet our financial and educational obligations

The Board of Education has developed financial parameters for new contracts with each of our bargaining units. Those parameters are the same for every group: 1.5-percent pay increase in the first year and a 1.5-percent pay increase in the second year.

These proposed increases come at a time of continuing declines in student enrollment, which result in lower revenue for the District.

  • Enrollment decline in 2020 meant a revenue loss of $6.2 million
  • Enrollment decline in 2021 meant a revenue loss of $7.3 million
  • Enrollment lost in our current fiscal year ending next June, means a revenue loss of $11.2 million. This is only partially offset by an increase in State funding of $6 million

SPPS is committed to providing resources and flexibility for our schools to provide successful environments for all students. Those environments are built around talented, well trained andhighly supported staff. Negotiations offer us an opportunity to prioritize students  and recognize the value of our employees.

Out of respect for our employees' time and being good stewards of available resources, our goal is to achieve equitable collective bargaining agreements as efficiently as possible, working to avoid prolonged negotiations. The District’s negotiations teams for all bargaining groups work together at the direction of the Board of Education and Superintendent Gothard.

As part of the District’s efforts to streamline discussions, neither the Board of Education nor the Superintendent will be involved in direct negotiations.

On behalf of the Senior Executive Leadership Team (SELT) thank you for your time, talent and student-centered efforts.

Kenyatta McCarty
Executive Director, Human Resources

Published by Saint Paul Public Schools - Thursday, September 23, 2021