Chicago Teachers: Close to a Deal

If an agreement is reached, the strike will end and kids could be back in school on Monday.

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The two sides in the Chicago teachers' strike are optimistic about reaching a deal that would allow students to return to class by Monday, the Chicago Tribune reports.

In a statement that was undoubtedly a relief to the city's students and parents, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said, on a scale of 1 to 10, "I'm a 9" when it comes to the likelihood of a deal being reached on Thursday.

"We're hoping we can tighten up some of the things we talked about yesterday ... and get this thing done," Lewis told reporters.

Barbara Byrd-Bennett, chief education officer with Chicago Public Schools, was equally confident of a deal today, echoing optimism voiced by board president David Vitale when talks broke up just before midnight Wednesday.

A meeting of the House of Delegates has been scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, where the more than 700 delegates can vote to end the strike, pending approval of the contract by the union’s full membership.

If the delegates vote to end the strike, student and teachers will likely return to class Monday. But it may still take a week or more before the union’s 26,000 members officially vote to ratify the new teachers contract.

The CTU is also planning what it calls a “Wisconsin-style” labor rally at noon Saturday in Union Park.

Teachers at the picket line at Walt Disney Magnet School said they liked what they've heard so far from the contract talks.

"We're most optimistic that the union leadership will make sure our demands are met," said Michelle Gunderson, a fourth-grade teacher at Nettlehorst Elementary in Lakeview. "We can't just do this again. This has to be the finish line."

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.

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