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Tentative Contract Deal Reached On 5th Day Of Seattle Teacher Strike

Teachers walk the picket line as they strike outside Garfield High School in Seattle, Wash., last week. A new agreement could end the labor dispute.

The dispute that has kept Seattle's 53,000 students from starting their school year could be over soon, after the local teachers union and the city's school district announced Tuesday morning they've reached a tentative contract agreement.

Until an agreement is ratified, teachers will continue the strike that began last Wednesday, the union says. The district says classes could begin as early as Thursday.

"The deal comes after a 20-hour bargaining marathon that ended at 6:50 a.m. Tuesday," reports local TV King 5 News, citing the district.

On Monday, Seattle's city council adopted a resolution of support for the teachers, in a unanimous vote.

The strike followed months of negotiations that didn't resolve major issues dividing the teachers and the school district. Pay, teacher evaluations and the length of the school day were key areas of disagreement.

On the salary topic, we reported last week:

"The school district had offered raises of '2 percent this year, 3.2 percent next year and 3.75 percent the year after that,' as member station KPLU reports. But the 5,000 members of the Seattle Education Association proposed "5 percent in the first year and 5.5 percent in the second year of a new deal."

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