CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools and the teachers union have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract and classes could resume for 350,000 students on Monday, according to school and union officials.
The union’s House of Delegates will review the proposal at a meeting this afternoon and is likely to vote to end the five-day-old teachers strike on Sunday after final details have been worked out, officials say.
“I’m pleased to report that the talks today were very productive,” CTU attorney Robert Bloch told reporters. “We are still continuing to work out the details of the contract, but we are hopeful that we will have a complete agreement to present to the union’s House of Delegates by Sunday.
“And if the delegates so vote, we will suspend the strike and students can return to school on Monday,” he said.
Bloch was asked how confident he was that delegates would be happy enough with the deal to end the strike.
“I can’t provide assurances, but I can tell you that it’s a contract that the committee expects to recommend to the membership. And if we have been listening to the membership well and have heard their concerns, then that agreement will be acceptable to our membership overall,” Bloch said.
“We are hopeful that we will have a complete agreement done by Sunday, that when the House of Delegates will review it, that they will have confidence in that agreement and that they will vote to suspend the strike so students can return to school on Monday,” he added.
School board president David Vitale was also upbeat about the strike ending as he left the talks at the Chicago Hilton and Towers on Friday afternoon.
“I’m pleased to tell you that we have in place the framework around the major issues,” Vitale said. “We have more work to do here. The heavy lifting is over. The general framework is in place.”
He declined to discuss specifics but indicated the two sides will be back Saturday with the hope of finalizing details of a contract.
“My message (to parents) is they should be prepared to have their kids in school on Monday,” Vitale said.
A City Hall source said the school district and union have reached a “framework with all points resolved.”
Under a deal put on the table by CPS earlier this week, teachers would receive on average a 16 percent raise over the next four years.
That figure includes both cost-of-living salary bumps and the so-called step increases for working another year in the district.