Minneapolis teachers reach agreement with public schools to end strike

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(MINNEAPOLIS) — The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and educational support professionals on Friday reached a tentative agreement with Minneapolis Public Schools to end their weekslong strike, according to the superintendent of Minneapolis public schools.

The agreement came after 21 consecutive days of negotiations, according to Ed Graff, the superintendent of MPS.

Among their demands, teachers and ESPs called for living wages for ESPs, systemic change to improve the recruitment and retention of educators of color, more mental health support, smaller class sizes and competitive pay that retains licensed educators, according to the MFT’s Safe and Stable Schools website.

Negotiations on Thursday had “a lot of progress and momentum,” with the teachers, followed by progress with ESPs, Graff said in a press conference on Friday.

An agreement was reached with teachers at 3:30 a.m., followed by an agreement with the ESPs at 3:40 a.m. on Friday, Graff said.

The deal is still pending an MFT members’ vote to ratify the contract. A representative for MPS told ABC News details of the agreement will not be released until after the vote.

“At the end of the day, we were all able to come together and tentatively agree upon what I believe is a fair contract for both our teachers and our educational support professionals,” Graff said.

The MFT said the “historic” agreement contains important wins for students.

“These deals are what 4,500 MFT members went on strike for. Details will be coming out shortly, but it is important to note that major gains were made on pay for Education Support Professionals, protections for educators of color, class size caps and mental health supports,” MFT said in a statement posted online.

After months of negotiating, 97% of voting teachers and 98% voting ESPs had voted to authorize the strike. Teachers began their walkout on March 8, MFT’s first one in more than 50 years.

MPS said students would return to class on Monday, pending the MFT membership vote.

“We all know that teachers and ESPs are an important part of what makes our schools the learning sites on which our students and families rely. I’m extremely grateful for their work, determination and dedication,” said Graff.

“We have always tried to remain focused on our students throughout this whole process and at the end of the day, again, us coming together is going to be what makes a difference for our kids,” Graff said.

MPS said schools could make up instructional time lost by adding minutes to the school day, extending the end of the school year or using days that are non-contact student days as teaching days. Graduation ceremony dates are not impacted and will go forward as planned.

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