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St. Paul teachers vote to ratify new contract

The deal, which was hammered out two weeks ago, includes increased pay, smaller class sizes, additional student mental health support and guaranteed recess.

ST PAUL, Minn. — It's official: St. Paul teachers and educational support professionals have a new contact after the results of a district-wide vote were tabulated Wednesday. 

Members of the St. Paul Federation of Educators voted in their work locations over two days, tallying enough yes votes to OK the new deal. All that remains is to have the St. Paul Public Schools Board give its approval. 

The agreement includes new language on class sizes and caps, increased mental health supports for students, guaranteed recess and increased pay, especially for educational assistants who are often the lowest-paid employees in most districts. 

“Now, more than ever, our students need more support. Not less," said SPFE President Leah VanDassor in a released statement. "This contract is proof that educators and district leaders can come together to give students the resources they need and educators the recognition they deserve.”

Here are some specifics of the newly-ratified contract:

  • Class size caps are lowered by one student in grades 1-3 and 9. Class size averages and caps remain intact and in the contract for all other grades.
  • $650,000 to hire six additional school psychologists. Mental health support teams at each school are still guaranteed in the contract.
  • All educators will receive $3,000 one-time recognition payment for pandemic work if they worked in the district in the past two school years. 
  • Educational assistants receive an average 13.5% wage increase. By the end of the contract, the starting hourly rate for EAs will be at $18.82, up from $15.94.
  • Median compensation for EAs will be at $49,664 by the end of the contract, up from $42,064.
  • St. Paul teachers and school and community service professionals get a 2%  annual salary increase over the next two years. Summer school and loss of preparation compensation also increased.

Union negotiators and the district struck a deal just before a March 8 strike date dateline. State law requires districts and their educators to negotiate a new contract every two years.

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