Smaller Class Sizes Part of St. Paul Teacher Deal

Updated: 02/25/2014 5:38 AM By: Megan Stewart

We are learning new details about the agreement reached between St. Paul Public Schools and the St. Paul Federation of Teachers.

After a 24-hour mediation session last Thursday, negotiators reached a tentative agreement on their 2013-2015 labor contract.

The teachers will receive an 8.6 increase in wage and benefits combined, according to a report released by the union.

Other aspects of the agreement include smaller class sizes with lower limits set for schools with higher levels of poverty. The agreement also outlined additional staffing with 42 new full-time employees being hired, including additional licensed media specialists, elementary school counselors, school social workers and nurses.

The district pledged to commit at least $6 million per school to maintain and expand early learning and the Pre-K program for 4-year-olds.

The two sides agreed to reduce time spent on standardized testing and test preparation activities for the 2015-16 school year.

The proposed two-year deal also updates salary and benefits.

For months, the district argued those issues didn't belong in a teacher's contract and would cost $150 million.

The deal is conditional; union members will vote to ratify the agreement on March 4. It will then be sent to the St. Paul Public Schools Board of Education on March 18.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.