CHICAGO (CBS) — Thousands of students and teachers will return to school in Geneva Tuesday as teachers are heading back to the classroom after nearly a week on the picket line.

Teachers in west suburban Geneva have voted to ratify a tentative agreement to end the first strike ever in District 304. Geneva Education Association members have been on strike since Tues., Dec. 4.

The tentative, five-year agreement was reached about 4 a.m. Monday and was ratified Monday afternoon.

“We truly believe this deal will make our students stronger and will make our schools stronger,” GEA President Kevin Gannon said. “We went into the negotiations with a reasonable request: make us average when it comes to our salaries. This contract does that. That said, this is not everything. It took us several years to become nearly the lowest paid teachers in Kane County, and it will take several more to make us whole again.”

The union calls the deal a compromise for the 465 teachers. They say the deal will include both the traditional step and lane salary schedule that compensates teachers based on education and experience and also includes the boards’ hybrid salary schedule. Teachers with advanced degrees will now be compensated for those degrees.

“This deal today has a large impact on me,” Western Avenue School first grade teacher Megan Wassell said. “I earned my master’s degre

“This deal today has a large impact on me. I earned my masters’ degree in reading at the end of this last summer, and I was prepared to wait until the 2020-21 school year to earn compensa-tion for that degree,”  “It’s a step in the right direction that the board of education removed the lane governance, and I will start earning compensation for the learning that I’m already using in my classroom immediately.”

District 304 has 5,800 students.