SPFE Negotiations Update: November 3, 2023
The fourth negotiations meeting for Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) and the Saint Paul Federation of Educators (SPFE) was held on Thursday, Nov. 2, to discuss the next contracts for Teachers, Educational Assistants (EAs) and School and Community Service Professionals (SCSP). To date, SPFE has presented 40 proposals across the three groups and SPPS has presented 18. There have been no counter proposals and no tentative agreements reached.
SPPS is working to provide cost estimates for all 40 SPFE proposals presented so far. With $17.9 million budgeted for negotiations with all 27 of the district’s employee groups, SPPS will be unable to afford the majority of SPFE’s proposals as presented.
SPPS shared a Budget Fact Sheet to illustrate that while helpful, the new funding passed by the Minnesota state legislature does not fully cover the costs of providing essential services including special education, English Learner services, unemployment insurance and other new requirements. The fact sheet also shows that staffing has increased by 2.3% over the same 10-year period that student enrollment has declined by 16.4% districtwide.
As more information and guidance continues to be finalized by the Minnesota Department of Education and other state agencies responsible for implementing the new legislation, budgets and projections will be revised as they are every year. However, the fact remains that SPPS--like most districts across Minnesota and the country--must plan for a severe budget shortfall for FY25 and beyond.
Next, the SPPS and SPFE bargaining teams discussed that e-learning days will continue to follow past practice until new guidelines are agreed upon per new language from the legislature.
SPPS’s proposals included:
establishing a defined eight-hour work day for teachers, to begin 30 minutes before the start of the school day, and allow more time for professional development, planning and collaboration
discontinuation of the past practice in which an employee whose spouse also works for the district waives health insurance benefits and receives a monthly payment
elimination of the language regarding bus duty pay for EAs. This language was removed from the recently approved Teaching Assistants contract and, as a result, the language in the EA contract is no longer valid
SPFE presented six new proposals, with requests related to dual language immersion, length of teachers’ day for high schools, professional development, additional compensation provisions, cybersecurity training and insurance, and wage and longevity proposals for all three groups. This proposal included moving up the longevity stipend to 10 years for all groups, a $7,500 ($5.43/hour for EAs) wage increase in year one and 7.5% wage increase in year two.
All proposals to date can be viewed on the proposals page. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 16, at 5 p.m. at 23 Empire Drive. All meetings are open to the public. Future meeting dates can be found on the negotiations calendar.