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Chicago teachers strike: Negotiators push for classes by Monday

September 14, 2012|By Michael Muskal

Chicago teachers were resigned to finishing this school week still on strike, but both sides in the labor dispute were pushing hard to reach a deal by Friday afternoon in hopes that more than 350,000 students could return to class on Monday.

Talks on Thursday went 15 hours before adjourning after midnight. Teachers union President Karen Lewis and school board President David Vitale told reporters there had been progress and that they were hoping to have a pact finished in time to get students back to class next week.

"We've got some number crunching to do overnight, and we’re going to be back here tomorrow and see if we can't finish this up," Vitale told reporters, according to the Chicago Tribune.

PHOTOS: Chicago teachers strike

He said it was realistic to expect an agreement by Friday afternoon, when the union's House of Delegates is scheduled to meet. That group's approval would be needed before a proposed pact could be sent to the full membership for a ratification vote, which would come after students return.

Lewis agreed that both sides need to go over calculations from the latest proposals. She described the negotiations as an "ebb and flow.”

"There were some creative ideas passed around, but we still do not have a deal," she told reporters. "If you are at that this point and I’m at this point, we have to figure out a way to move together. So that takes a little bit of creativity."

Chicago teachers have been on strike all week in the nation’s third-largest school district.

The main issues have been an evaluation system that uses student test scores, and the union's demands that laid-off teachers get top consideration for rehiring.


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