Classes resume after tentative deal reached in Highland Park, Highwood teachers strike

October 17, 2012 (HIGHLAND PARK, Ill.)

The news of the deal broke at approximately 5 a.m. when the teachers union made the announcement on its website. Both sides had been in a negotiating session all night.

Immediately, calls went out to parents of more than 4,000 elementary and middle school students, telling them to get their kids ready for class.

Parents like Robert Smith had to scramble to get his kids on the bus Wednesday morning because he anticipated the teachers in Highland Park and Highwood would still be on strike.

"They weren't too happy," Smith said. "We kept them up late last night figuring there wasn't going to be any school, and you know, I'm glad it only took a day."

"They called at like five in the morning, and I had to wake up and finish my math homework that I didn't finish," student Lily Nemeroff told ABC7 Chicago.

"I thought that I wouldn't have school, and then my dad woke me up, and I was like, 'Why are you in here?' And then, he was like, 'They resolved the strike,'" student Michael Gerszonovicz said.

Wednesday would have been the second day of the strike for more than 400 teachers in suburban Highland Park and Highwood. Classes were canceled Tuesday.

"It was a little mini-vacation for the kids, but it was a very rude awakening this morning," said parent Eileen Nemeroff. "We're glad to be back at school."

The district and the union had been butting heads on wages and benefits and compensation for teachers who sought higher education and paid for it themselves.

Details of the agreement are not being released until the school board and the teachers can review the deal.

"We're just so unbelievably happy to be back into the classroom. We're happy that... it just happened so much quicker than what we anticipated. No one expected to be back today, and we are thrilled. We are thrilled to be back, and we're thrilled to go on with what we need to do," teacher Kristin Kressman said.

Teachers will still have to ratify the contract after it is written with more formal language. That is expected to happen within the coming days.

Both sides say they are very happy a deal could be reached. Wednesday's tentative agreement came after 17 hours of negiations that began Tuesday afternoon.

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