Minneapolis teachers contract adds four school days

  • Article by: KIM MCGUIRE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 26, 2012 - 8:59 PM

Class size targets were also laid out in the tentative deal.

The tentative contract agreement between the Minneapolis Public Schools and the local teachers union adds four school days to the calendar, a union official said on Monday.

Other highlights include a minimum of two days for teacher preparation before school starts and class size targets at 16 struggling schools.

Lynn Nordgren, president of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, called the agreement a "win-win" for the district and the teachers. "We are all on the same side and that's the side of kids," Nordgren said.

The union has been shopping the proposed contract to teachers since the tentative agreement was reached last Thursday. Union negotiators held a teleconference with more than 1,200 members and conducted meetings to discuss the agreement, which still must be ratified by the group.

Among other things, the agreement spells out class size targets for 16 of the district's low-performing schools. Those schools are: Anishinabe, Bancroft, Cityview, Folwell, Green Central, Hall, North High School, Olson, Pratt, Sheridan, Bethune, Broadway, Edison High School, Hmong International Academy, Lucy Laney and Wellstone High School.

Those targets are 21 students for kindergarten through third grade and 24 for fourth and fifth grade. Those schools that house sixth through 12th grades will determine their own class sizes, according to the tentative agreement.

Nordgren said the union had asked that classes be limited to 18 students in those schools.

"Class size is a big thing for us and remains a big thing for us," she said.

The district pushed hard for a longer work year for teachers, especially at schools with poor student test scores. It wanted teachers at those schools to spend more time in training and have nine more days of class. It also wanted teachers to make a multiyear commitment to stay at those schools.

Minneapolis teachers have until April 13 to approve or reject the tentative contract. The school board must also ratify the agreement.

Kim McGuire • 612-673-4469

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