The biggest hurdle during last month's Chicago teacher strike was the tentative deal reached by the teachers union and school district to end seven days of picketing and send kids back to class.
Now comes the next step: To make the deal official, teachers must vote to ratify the new contract. They'll cast that key vote Tuesday before and after school.
Votes on the 197-page contract will be tallied immediately, and the vote will be made public on Thursday. To ratify the contract, teachers need a simple majority. If they don't vote to ratify the contract, the union's house of delegates would have to set another strike date.
When asked which way she thinks the vote will go, CTU President Karen Lewis said it's up to the teachers.
“I don't have a crystal ball," Lewis said after casting her ballot at Dyett High School. "I'm a person that believes what will happen will happen, but I don't make predictions.”
Which side wins in the new agreement? It depends on whom you ask. The teachers claim their victories include hiring 600 additional teachers in art, music and physical education, as well as enacting a limit on class size and lowering the percentage of their evaluations based on standardized testing.
“At any given time, you have to look at things in context," Lewis said when asked if the contract is good for teachers. "So the answer to that is yes, at this point in time. Twenty years ago, would that be a great contract? Probably not. Twenty years hence? Probably not. “
As for the victories on the mayor's side, he touts a longer school day and year, lower salary raises and principals keeping full authority to hire teachers.
Thousands of teachers in the nation's third-largest school district walked off the job on Sept. 10 after more than a year of slow, contentious negotiations over salary, health benefits and job security.
Note: This post was originally published on Oct. 2, 2012.