On the same day that St. Paul teachers reached a tentative agreement on a new contract with their district, the Minneapolis district and teachers resumed contract talks for the first time in more than three weeks.

The district presented a revised proposal that continues its emphasis on teaching schedule and other changes at what it calls high priority schools, 20 schools where the district is trying major interventions to revive flagging student achievement. The union is expected to respond to them on Feb. 8.

The district wants to revamp the schedule at those schools to require students to return one week earlier in the fall, with teachers returning two weeks before students, instead of one week earlier. The district also wants the option of adding five more non-classroom days for teachers at the end of the school year.

The district also committed to a target of class sizes of 21 students per class in kindergarten through third grades at those schools, several students below the norm. It also wants to exempt teachers at those schools from layoffs and to exempt the schools from being forced to add teachers who don’t get placed through normal channels when dislocated from teaching jobs at other schools by budget cuts.  It offered those proposals in the name of more stable staffing at those troubled schools, which in the past have experienced more turnover in part because they’ve had more junior staff more likely to be laid-off as enrollments decline. The district said it expects layoff pressure to ease as primary grades enrollment recovers.

The district also proposed that each high-priority school go through a “clean slate” process under which it would review all program initiatives, grants and meetings with the idea of weeding out all but those with the best prospects for helping students improve.  That would precede a larger district-wide review intended to focus teacher workload by focusing on a few areas that have the best prospects for improving student achievement.

Aside from those schools, the district also seeks generally to add an extra hour and 15 minutes  to the teacher work week with the intent of providing blocks of time, usually outside the classroom day, in which teachers could do detailed analysis and team work to more effectively boost student achievement.

The district is also looking to carve four more classroom days into the academic calendar.  The district said that the extra time it is asking of teachers would be paid for through a revised salary schedule proposal that it is still analyzing   It is seeking a revamped salary pact in part because the old one was built around state incentives that no longer exist.