Talks make real progess

Union, school board cite progress on issues like how to evaluate teachers.

September 13, 2012

City Room

Download Story View Transcript
(Sheridan Chaney)
Teachers rallied on Michigan Avenue on Thursday afternoon.
(WBEZ/Tricia Bobeda)
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis at a press conference Thursday morning.
(WBEZ/Michael Puente)
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis addresses the media Wednesday night following contract negotiations.

The Chicago Teachers Union president says a deal to end the city's first teachers' strike in 25 years is close.

Teachers Union President Karen Lewis told reporters on Thursday that Chicago Public School students could be back in the classroom as soon as Monday.

"Oh I’m praying, praying, praying I’m on my knees for that please," Lewis said. "Yes, I’m hoping for Monday that would be good for us, that would be very good for our kids."

Lewis said there were still lots of details to wade through, but the atmosphere around the negotiations had changed, and she says she's optimistic.

"We want to make sure this is done right. I mean, doing something fast is not the way to go. You know, haste makes waste,"  she said. 

As for getting students back into the classroom, Lewis says it's unlikely students will be back Friday even if a deal is reached Thursday. The house of delegates still has to vote on the final contract proposal.

"We still have some major stuff we have to look at, from the pace in which these things go I doubt very seriously I can get a house of delegates meeting together tonight."

Union and district officials have been meeting almost around the clock to try and get a deal done. School officials say they're also confident a deal could be reached soon.