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Rhee Attempts Contract With Washington Teacher's Union

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By Patrick Madden

D.C. School's Chancellor Michelle Rhee says she hopes to finalize a long-awaited labor agreement with the Washington Teacher's Union in the next few weeks.

Rhee and the union have been in contract talks for more than two years.

Negotiations have stalled at times, but Rhee says the two sides are not that far apart.

She told the D.C. council Monday, teachers may be able to vote on the deal in a few weeks.

"I feel a little sheepish saying that, because I have said that before, and I have been saying that for a long time, we are definitely right now, closer than we have ever have been," says Rhee.

In 2008, Rhee proposed a two-tiered contract system, that would have increased salaries but made it easier to fire teachers. Union leaders rejected the plan and it never went to a vote.

Rhee did not offer any hard deadlines for the package, but the teacher's union is holding an election in may, and a change in leadership could delay a deal.

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