West Chicago teachers end strike

West Chicago elementary teachers are back in the classrooms this morning after nearly 12 hours of negotiations produced a tentative contract.

Talks began at 1 p.m. Wednesday and the deal was reached around 12:30 a.m., officials said

"Well, the negotiations were very difficult and obviously long. They were professional," said Dave Barclay, District 33 school board member. "We're just happy that they're done now. We have no animosity toward our teachers and rebuilding relationships is going to be a priority."

Neither Barclay nor chief negotiator Mary Catherine Kosmach would elaborate on details of the agreement. Kosmach said the deal will be presented to members of the union after classes today and will be up for a vote on Tuesday.

"I will say this, the teachers were extremely happy to receive a text from us last night that we received this compromise and everybody is extremely happy to be back to work," she said. "The next step is in the hands of the membership."

District 33's teachers have been on strike since Monday after talks between the two sides broke down over salary increases and health insurance.

Lost school days are typically made up at the end of the school year and that will likely happen in this case, although no decision has been made yet, Barclay said.

West Chicago Elementary School District 33 serves roughly 4,130 students in West Chicago and portions of Winfield and Wheaton. The teachers' union serves 284 members.