Progress, but no deal as Minneapolis teachers strike enters third week

Negotiations between striking Minneapolis educators and the school district made significant progress over the weekend, but did not result in a deal. Educators picked outside schools and district headquarters Monday, preparing for a third week of negotiations, closed schools, and missed paychecks.

“We are close, but we are not where we need to be,” said Shaun Laden, the union’s educational support professional chapter president, at a Monday morning press conference outside the Minneapolis Public Schools headquarters. Educational support professionals play a variety of roles in schools, providing support for special education students, behavior intervention, and family communication.

On Sunday afternoon, Minneapolis Public Schools made what it described as the district’s “last, best, and final offer” to the educational support professional chapter of the union. The district said its offer would pay 85 percent of ESPs $23 per hour or more, which would bring most full-time support staff to a minimum salary of $35,000 per year. The offer also includes $6,000 one-time bonuses to educational support professionals.

“We believe this contract both meets what they’ve asked for and demonstrates a measure of the respect they deserve,” said Minneapolis school board chair Kim Ellison in a video released Sunday. Ellison added that the district believed this offer represented the fastest way to get students back to school.

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