District and union leaders offered scant negotiation updates on Friday, the ninth school day of the Minneapolis teachers strike.

Mediation is scheduled to continue through the weekend.

On Friday afternoon, hundreds of parents, teachers and students gathered near the governor's residence in St. Paul to call on state lawmakers to use a portion of Minnesota's $9.25 billion budget surplus for higher teacher and support staff wages and more mental health support for students.

Before heading into mediation Friday morning, the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers announced that it received a $100,000 donation from the American Federation of Teachers to support the local union's strike fund. That fund — now at more than half a million dollars — helps support union members who need financial support during the strike.

The week ended with some progress in the district's negotiations with another union.

Minneapolis Public Schools and SEIU Local 284, the union representing its food service workers, reached a tentative agreement on Thursday. The parties were in mediation for more than 35 hours, according to the union, which had declared the intent to strike if an agreement couldn't be reached.

The three-year contract agreement includes wage increases of $1 per hour in the first year of the contract and $.75 per hour in the second year with additional steps and seniority increases for senior employees, according to a summary released by the union. Workers will see wage increases of up to 25% over the life of the contract, which also includes other improvements to benefits and one-time cash payments, the summary said.

The union will vote on the tentative agreement in April, union leaders said.

"The contributions these staff provide to each school community and the district are invaluable," said Superintendent Ed Graff in a statement, adding that food service workers provided food boxes for students in the early days of the pandemic and throughout distance learning. The district is also providing meal boxes to students throughout the strike.

On Summit Avenue in St. Paul on Friday, the mood stayed jovial as educators and students spoke to the crowd.

JeTaun Smith, who works at Lyndale Elementary School, said her pay has not kept up with inflation but her health care premiums have.

"MPS, Gov. Walz, Minneapolis, I need you to make this make sense, and until then, I'm going to hold the line," she said.

Adriana Jara, a senior at Patrick Henry High School, joined the protest on Friday to support pay raises for teachers in her school.

Having classes canceled for nearly two weeks has been hard on her and her peers, she said, especially after pandemic-related disruptions. She's worried what more time outside of school means for upcoming tests and graduation requirements. But she said it's also "unfair" that teachers work overtime and use their own money to buy classroom supplies.

"So that's what we're here for," she said.