A vote to end the Chicago teachers' strike could happen Wednesday afternoon if a "tentative" agreement is reached, Chicago Teachers' Union President Jesse Sharkey said. She has said the district could not afford the union's full demands, estimating they would cost an extra $2.4 billion each year for an increase of more than 30% in the current $7.7 billion school budget.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday that Chicago Teachers Union officials have demanded that she support state legislation affecting the district's appointed school board and labour laws. "We shouldn't have to work this hard - and we shouldn't have to strike - to get our students what they deserve".
After huddling in private to review the tentative settlement for several hours, leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union emerged to call on rank-and-file members to rally on Thursday to press their demand for extending the school calendar to offset days missed during the strike.
The strike, which began on October 17, is the latest in a recent wave of work stoppages across the United States by educators who have called for more resources and emphasized the need to help underfunded schools, framing their demands as a call for social justice.
The union's General Counsel Robert Bloch suggested after a late-night session that ended early Tuesday that Lightfoot could settle the dispute by committing to more resources for schools.
"There is no justifiable reason that kids should be prevented from going back into class tomorrow because we refused to reduce the length of the school day or the length of the school year", she said.More news: Boris Johnson launches Tory election campaign against Brexit backdrop
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Both sides remain divided over demands for smaller classes and more staff.
It's the second-longest USA teachers' strike in recent memory.
The union was seeking a contract that runs three years instead of five and includes more paid preparation time for elementary school teachers. Some of the contracts also specify the amount of time teachers have to collaborate with colleagues.
The district has reached a tentative agreement with a separate union representing thousands of school support staff.
The offer included $372 million toward 16% across-the-board raises for teachers and support staff, as well as $70 million in staffing investments, including a full-time nurse and social worker in every school, every day, and $40 million in program investments.