(KCEN) -- Students in the nation's third largest school district returned to class today.
After seven days of negotiations, the Chicago Teacher's Union Board of Delegates agreed to accept a contract proposal from the city last night.
Close to 30,000 teachers must still approve the deal. That is expected to happen in the next couple of weeks.
Already among the highest paid teachers in the nation, with an annual salary averaging more than $70,000, the new contract provides for a 7-percent pay raise for Chicago teachers over the next three years.
The city will now rate teachers in part on how well students score on standardized tests and under-performing teachers can be laid off during the first year of the new contract.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, "This settlement is an honest compromise. It means returning our schools to their primary purpose the education of our children. It means a new day and a new direction for the Chicago public schools."
The agreement came the day before a court hearing. The city planned to ask a judge to force the teachers to end their strike and go back to work.