SPFE Negotiations Update: November 17, 2023
Dear SPPS Staff,
I am writing to provide an update on negotiations with our largest employee group, the Saint Paul Federation of Educators (SPFE). SPPS and SPFE have been meeting regularly since September to discuss the next contracts for Teachers, Educational Assistants (EAs) and School and Community Services Personnel (SCSP). Proposals, past meeting updates, and our guiding values for bargaining can all be found on our website at spps.org/negotiations.
As a bargaining team, we continue to center negotiations with all 27 of our employee groups on the following guiding values:
- Listening to and communicating with our students and employees;
- Creating an inclusive school district in which every family, staff and community member would enroll their children;
- Working within our budget while meeting financial obligations; and
- Promoting a culture that is focused on students, their growth and achievement
In total, the amount that SPPS has budgeted for increases to all collective bargaining agreements is $17.9 million. That equates to $12.4 million total for SPFE. To date, SPFE has presented 46 proposals. SPPS has costed 23 of the 46 proposals, which add up to approximately $106.4 million in additional expenses. The SPPS bargaining team is unable to provide any counter proposals or finalize the estimated costs until all of SPFE’s proposals are on the table.
As a district, we are also planning for a substantial budget shortfall next year with the expiration of American Rescue Plan funds and our current level of deficit spending. The additional funding from the state legislature allowed us to sustain many programs and services this year, but it will not fill the gaps that remain or allow us to continue spending at current levels.
Spending more than what’s allocated for some groups will have negative impacts on others, and will limit our ability to champion pay equity and offer competitive wages for all of our employees. We simply cannot afford to spend money that we don’t have, no matter how much we agree on what our students and staff need.
Saint Paul Public Schools values all of our employees. We are proud of our schools, our students, and our staff who work tirelessly to make SPPS a district of choice for families and an employer of choice for our staff. We look forward to continuing to work with SPFE to prioritize our needs as a district while staying within our budget parameters. Thank you for all you do to make SPPS the amazing district that it is.
Patricia Pratt-Cook, Executive Chief of Human Resources