Minneapolis kids return to class Tuesday as union ratifies new contract

Students will be in school for nearly all of June because of the strike.

Teachers strike for smaller class sizes, more counselors and higher wages. (Luigi Morris/Shutterstock)

(The Center Square) — More than 29,000 Minneapolis kids can return to school Tuesday after striking teachers canceled school for the 15th day.

Members of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) on Sunday voted to ratify their new contract with Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), ending a strike started March 8 with the union seeking “a living wage” for Education Support Professionals (ESPs), smaller class sizes, and “safe and stable schools.”

MFT says that the contract includes significant wage increases for ESPs, improving student learning conditions, and protections for teachers of color. Few contract details have been released, and neither the union nor MPS returned a request for comment on new contract terms.

On Friday, MPS Superintendent Ed Graff welcomed the return of school.

“Families wanted their children in school,” Graff said in a video. “They definitely had experienced enough disruption with the COVID pandemic.”

The agreement included taking Monday off for a transition day. Other changes to make up for missed time include:

  • Students will attend school on Friday, April 1, moving the currently scheduled teacher record-keeping day to Saturday, April 23.
  • Beginning on Monday, April 11, the district will add 42 minutes to each school day for the remainder of the school year.
  • The end of quarter 3 will be moved to Thursday, April 21, and the beginning of quarter 4 will be changed to Friday, April 22.
  • The end of the school year will be moved to Friday, June 24.

The district is facing a $21.5 million budget deficit for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

The state’s education funding formula is based on enrollment, which has declined at MPS from 32,732 to 29,100 between 2019 and 2022.