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St. Paul, Minn., Reaches Tentative Contract

The St. Paul, Minn., district has reached a tentative agreement with the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, the Star Tribune reports.

The tentative contract still needs to be approved by members, but for now averts the possibility of a strike; the SPFT passed a strike authorization recently. News of the agreement comes on the heels of a similar situation recently resolved in Portland, Ore.

As in Oregon, major issues in St. Paul included reducing class sizes. The union wanted to hire some 350 regular teachers, another 70 for arts and music, and more nurses and counselors, too; district officials said the costs were untenable, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Details of the new agreement haven't been released yet.

A particularly interesting proposal made at one point by the union was opting out of No Child Left Behind Act-required state assessments—which would cost the district $25 million in federal funds. (Federal Title I funds for poor students are contingent on giving these tests.) It's doubtful that was included in the final agreement, but perhaps the union won concessions on other testing-related matters.

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