After nine months of negotiating a new teacher’s contract for District 97 faculty, a tentative agreement was reached this week and is expected to be ratified before the Thanksgiving holiday, the Oak Park elementary school district announced Friday.

In a statement from the district Friday morning, the D97 school board, administration and Oak Park Teachers’ Association (OPTA) met twice this week, talks that “led to mutual material agreement on nearly all aspects of a new contract for our teachers.”

There’s still, however, “critical tasks we must complete before the contract can be shared with the broader OPTA membership and general public. These tasks include working together to draft, review and finalize the language and terms of the deal from a legal standpoint,” according to the statement.

The goal is to have the contract ratified by the OPTA and approved by the D97 board prior to Thanksgiving.

“We will keep everyone updated on our progress, and appreciate the patience, understanding and support that have been exhibited by the community throughout this important endeavor,” the statement read. “We truly believe our efforts will result in the creation of a transformative and sustainable agreement that will benefit all of Oak Park and help our children continue to succeed both in and out the classroom.”

Negotiations began on a new contract in January. The previous 5-year agreement, which was approved in 2008 but extended for an additional year in 2011, expired on June 30. D97 faculty have been operating under the terms of the old contract while a new deal is being negotiated.

As to when will the new contract be finalized, D97 spokesperson Chris Jasculca said Friday morning that there are no set dates or timelines beyond the goal of ratifying it by Thanksgiving. 

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