LA HABRA (CBS) — Teachers in the La Habra City School District returned to work Tuesday after a four-day strike, but were turned away until they signed a form, which is being evaluated by union attorneys, a union representative said.

Negotiators say both sides are close to a tentative agreement and that a further walkout was not necessary, a union spokesman said.

“We believe we have the framework that could lead to a tentative agreement, when we get back together for further talks this afternoon,” Bill Guy of the California Teachers Association said.

Talks continued until about midnight, and at 1 a.m., the union notified the school district that teachers would be back on the job, Guy said.

A representative from the school district was not immediately available for comment.

Document Keeps La Habra Teachers From Returning To Classrooms: KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports.

School board members voted Nov. 18 to cut teacher salaries by two percent, force them to take two furlough days, and pay more for health insurance benefits.

School officials say the district will save $220,000 with the cuts over two years and that the reductions are necessary because of waning state funding. If the cuts are put in place, the district will face a $2.5-million deficit, according to school officials.

However, union leaders say the district has $8.2 million in reserves. School board member Sharon Brown countered that half that money is restricted and cannot be used to pay teachers.

Most of the district’s 225 teachers have walked the picket lines.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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