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'Framework' of strike deal in place, Chicago schools official says

Kids may be back in school on Monday if the Chicago Teachers Union is able to reach an agreement about salary increases, teacher evaluations and rehiring policy for laid off teachers. NBC's Rehema Ellis reports.

Updated at 7:45 p.m. ET: President of the Chicago school board said on Friday that school negotiators had reached a "framework" agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union on a new contract that will end a strike in the third-largest school district in the nation.

"I am pleased to tell you we have in place frameworks around all of the major issues that should allow us to conclude this process and conclude it in time for our kids to be back in school on Monday morning," school board President Dave Vitale said.

Moments earlier, the attorney for the Chicago Teachers Union said the final deal wasn't done yet.

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"The agreement has not been fully drafted and until an agreement is completed, the House of Delegates will not make a decision on whether to suspend the strike," CTU attorney Robert Bloch told reporters.

The union's delegates still will meet at 2 p.m. as planned, Bloch said, and a report will made to them about the progress of contract talks. Negotiations ended for the day, and Bloch said the two parties hope to have a deal drafted by Sunday. The union's delegates is a larger consultative body than the negotiating team.

"If the delegates so vote, we will suspend the strike and students can return to school on Monday," Bloch said.

Talks are expected to continue at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued a statement:

"This tentative framework is an honest and principled compromise that is about who we all work for: our students. It preserves more time for learning in the classroom, provides more support for teachers to excel at their craft, and gives principals the latitude and responsibility to build an environment in which our children can succeed. Now, our most important work continues: providing every child in every community of Chicago an education to match their potential."

Question at heart of Chicago strike: How do you measure teacher performance?

After a late night and early morning of negotiations, school officials had said they were confidently close to an agreement that would end Chicago's teacher strike over education reforms sought by the mayor.

Sitthixay Ditthavong / AP

Public school teachers rallying at Chicago's Congress Plaza protest against billionaire Hyatt Hotel mogul Penny Pritzker, who is also a member of the Chicago Board of Education on Thursday.

Thousands of teachers walked off the job Monday after months of negotiations failed to result in a new contract, affecting more than 350,000 students. It's the city's first teacher strike since October 1987.

"There were some creative ideas passed around, but we still do not have an agreement," Karen Lewis, the fiery former high school chemistry teacher who leads the union, told reporters. "We're going to go back to our respective shops and do some numbers crunching."

"It was a really, really long night," CPS chief education advisor Barbara Byrd-Bennett told NBCChicago.com. "We believe it was a beneficial night. We are so close I do believe it is very, very possible we could have a deal today."

She said she remained hopeful that students and teachers could return to class on Monday.

theGrio: 'Safe havens' for kids offered during Chicago teachers strike

"I think that we made some pretty good progress," Chicago School Board President David Vitale said on Thursday night. "We're closing a lot of gaps."

'A sense of urgency'
A more recent offer included provisions that would protect tenured teachers from dismissal in the first year of the evaluations.

It also altered categories that teachers can be rated on and added an appeals process. Additionally, evaluations could work on a graduated scale throughout the term of the contract, comprising between 25 and 35 percent of a teacher's total score.

"There's a sense of urgency today,'' said the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who stopped by the hotel where the negotiators were working Thursday and spoke to reporters. A day earlier, he said the two sides were talking past each other. 

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