The St. Paul school board on Tuesday put the final touches on two major efforts by approving a new two-year teachers contract and signing off on the second phase of the Strong Schools, Strong Communities strategic plan.
The contract, which was ratified by teachers earlier this month in a nearly unanimous vote, calls for an 8.6 percent wage-and-benefit increase over two years, including pay hikes of 2.43 percent in the first year and 2 percent in the second year.
Agreement did not come easily. Negotiators for the district and St. Paul Federation of Teachers concluded talks on Feb. 21, just days before teachers were to take a strike-authorization vote.
The total cost of the agreement is $33 million, the district has said.
The union, determined to move talks beyond wages and benefits, also negotiated new limits on class sizes and the hiring over two years of 42 support-staff members — the latter of which the district agreed to as part of its Strong Schools, Strong Communities plan.
In its initial three-year phase, Strong Schools, Strong Communities brought a districtwide restructuring that emphasized neighborhood schools but preserved some magnet school options.
The second phase of the plan, dubbed Strong Schools, Strong Communities 2.0, is to run five years, and will find the district continuing its focus on technology-enhanced learning and racial-equity efforts, among other priorities.
The district’s plan to use technology to tailor learning to individual student needs is expected to be rolled out to ninth-graders beginning next year. The district also will be developing new African-American course offerings for its secondary schools.