Striking Detroit teachers voted yesterday to return to work Monday and hold classes Tuesday, ending an extended summer vacation for 185,000 students in the nation's sixth-largest public school district.
Meanwhile, contract talks resumed in Chicago, but no settlement was in sight in the nation's largest teachers' strike.
Detroit's 11,500 public school teachers plan to vote later in the week on the proposed pact that gives them a guaranteed 6 percent increase in the first year of a three-year contract. The pact also reportedly contains conditional pay hikes of 7 percent in the second year and 6 percent in the third year.
The increases in the final two years are linked to increased revenues coming to the school district through tax boosts or elsewhere.
Teachers will report to work Monday and classes will begin Tuesday, officials said. The district's 185,000 students have been held out of school since the walkout began Aug. 31.
The tentative agreement leaves 14 teacher disputes unsettled in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Washington state, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Massachusetts. These disputes have interrupted fall classes for more than 500,000 students and 45,000 teachers and support staff.
The strike by Chicago's public school teachers, which began Sept. 8, threatened to begin its third week with little hope of a settlement, even though bargaining has resumed. The Chicago Teachers Union and the city's Board of Education returned to the bargaining table yesterday.
"I'm urging the parties to stay at the drawing table and continue to negotiate, negotiate, negotiate," said Mayor Harold Washington (D), who has not been involved directly in the bargaining process.
Previous talks broke off early Friday, and CTU President Jacqueline Vaughn said the board has refused to discuss salaries, but school officials maintained their position that, without more state funding, no money is available for a pay raise.