Video: Superintendent Silva Responds to the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers' Petition for State Mediation
Wednesday, December 09, 2015 4:30 PM

Saint Paul Public Schools Superintendent Valeria Silva provided an official response to the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers petition for state mediation and the teachers' right to strike.

Below is a letter Superintendent Valeria Silva sent to the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers:

SPFT President Rodriguez,

I was surprised by SPFT’s call to go to mediation. We began negotiations with the union in May, took a break over the summer and began again in earnest in September. While we haven’t reached any agreements yet, it seemed that we were moving in the right direction through our collective bargaining process.

In your statement you discussed the vicious assault on a teacher at Central, linking it to the union’s restorative practice proposal. I believe this attack is a criminal matter, and I was saddened that it was turned into a negotiations talking point.

I agree with SPFT leadership that the creation of a restorative culture in schools holds significant promise as a means to achieve safe and equitable learning environments. Punitive measures such as suspensions and expulsions, while at times necessary, do not change undesirable behavior. Restorative practices are just one of many tools that help foster and repair relationships. That is why I created the Department of School Climate and Support to help address behavior and align current district efforts.

Violent behavior is not an acceptable way to resolve conflict in our schools, and I recognize the urgency of needing to act now to stop it. I have repeatedly asked SPFT to collaborate on creating a system-wide response to school climate. I respect the bargaining process, but negotiations can be lengthy and I did not want to wait to act.

I am concerned that SPFT is seeking mediation at this time especially when we have had only a short while to review and study all the proposals. We remain ready to sit down and do the work needed to settle our contract. 

Let’s get it done so we can move forward, together, on behalf of our students, families and staff.

Sincerely,

Valeria S. Silva