The "framework" for a deal between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union is there, now the details need to be filled in so kids can get back to school.
Officials for CPS and CTU began their at 9 a.m. Saturday to finish drafting a deal that could end Chicago's first teacher strike in 25 years and allow kids to return to school by Monday.
On Friday, leaders on both sides of Chicago's teacher strike said they have a "framework" in place to end the stalemate that's embroiled the city and kept students out of classes for a full week.
The strike, however, remains in effect and could go into next week, union officials cautioned.
"At this moment, the strike is not suspended," Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis told reporters following an afternoon meeting of the union's House of Delegates. "The framework is one thing. We think it's a framework that can get us to an agreement, but we're not quite there."
Calling it "one of the most difficult labor contracts negotiated in decades," attorney Robert Bloch told reporters the next couple of days would be spent crafting the language and drafting up an official document that will be presented to the union's nearly 800 delegates on Sunday.
"Our delegates were not interested in blindly signing off on something they have not seen," Lewis said. "They are very suspicious. You have to understand we have been a little burned by the [Chicago School] Board in the past."
Neither the union leadership or officials with Chicago Public Schools would go into detail about the pending deal.
"I am pleased to tell you we have in place frameworks around all of the major issues that should allow us to conclude this process and conclude it in time for our kids to be back in school on Monday morning," school board President Dave Vitale said earlier in the afternoon.
In a statement, Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the tentative framework a "principled compromise that is about who we all work for: our students."
Chicago's first teacher strike in 25 years could end Sunday if the union's House of Delegates approves that action. The delegates are not the one who will sign off on the new contract, however, union leadership explained. That responsibility remains with the union rank and file.
The significant progress comes after a late night and early morning of negotiations. Vitale and Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis emerged separately from the Hilton Chicago at around 1 a.m. Friday and said they were very close to a deal.
CPS chief education adviser Barbara Byrd-Bennett said school officials didn't turn in until 3 a.m. after a numbers-crunching session.
"It was a really, really long night," she told reporters before 9 a.m. negotiations. "We're pretty beat."
Mayor Rahm Emanuel postponed a non-strike-related news conference, and the mayor's office told NBC Chicago Emanuel is in "contract briefings."
NBC Chicago has an array of reporters and producers covering the Chicago teacher strike. Check our live blog for continuous coverage and updates throughout the strike.