The Chicago Teachers Union and the city's school board reached a tentative agreement Friday in their dispute over new contract terms that has closed public schools for 350,000 students.
Despite the possible deal, union president Karen Lewis cautioned that the strike, in its fifth day Friday, is not yet over.
Union officials will meet between now and Sunday to draft specific language on a "framework for an agreement." They will present the document to a special committee of union representatives, at which time a majority vote will be taken on whether to suspend the strike.
"Our delegates were not interested in blindly signing off on something they have not seen," Lewis said.
However, Lewis was optimistic that the deal would be finalized.
"We think it's a framework that will get us to an agreement, but we are not quite there," she said, adding she is "hoping and praying" students will be back in the classroom Monday.
Chicago School Board President David Vitale was similarly positive about moving forward.
"We have in place frameworks around all of the major issues that should allow us to conclude this process and to conclude it in time for our kids to be back in school on Monday morning," he said.
Lewis declined at a news conference Friday afternoon to discuss details of the agreement.
A source close to the negotiations said some of the terms include: keeping the current length of school year and school day; giving principals the freedom to hire their own teachers; and, chief among the dispute's sticking points, updating the teacher evaluation system for the first time in 40 years.