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Chicago school board approves deal that ended teacher strike

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Chicago Board of Education approved a new contract on Wednesday with public school teachers, closing the book on a bitter dispute over school reforms that triggered the first strike by unionized educators in the city in 25 years.

The three-year deal, which union members overwhelming ratified earlier this month, will give teachers an average pay raise of 17.6 percent over four years if the contract is extended an extra year.

"This contract is the result of two sides coming together to put our students first," David Vitale, the board's president, said in a statement.

Some 350,000 students in Chicago missed seven days of school as a result of the September walkout, which sparked a national debate over education reform.

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Greg McCune and Philip Barbara)

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