CHICAGO, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- The head of the Chicago school board said he was optimistic contract talks would lead to an agreement that would head off a teacher strike.
Board President David Vitale told reporters Saturday night he was confident the latest contract offer to the Chicago Teachers Union would be acceptable.
"In our judgment, we are very close," Vitale said. "I am so optimistic our children will be in school Monday."
Union President Karen Lewis acknowledged the board's offer was indeed an improvement over the previous contract proposal but would not make any predictions on whether it would be accepted.
The Chicago Sun-Times said talks resumed Sunday with a Monday strike deadline looming.
The city has been closely watching the progress of the talks. A group of 33 city aldermen sent a letter to the union asking them to report for work regardless of the status of the talks.
Chicago is in the home stretch of a rough summer of gang-related violence and many parents would much rather see their kids in school rather than on the streets this fall.
Dorothy Davis, Black Star director of operations, said parents don't think the district's backup plans are a good solution, either.
"Parents are afraid the streets are going to embrace (their children) instead," Dorothy Davis, director of the mentoring organization Black Star Project told the Chicago Tribune.