Thousands of teachers from Chicago and beyond rallied at a Near West Side park Saturday as lawyers labored into the night at a Loop office to turn a framework for a new contract into finer points that can become a deal.

Parents can expect to wait until Sunday afternoon or later to find out whether their children will return to class Monday morning after missing a week of school because of the Chicago Teachers Union strike. Hundreds of union leaders are scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. Sunday for a potential vote that could end the walkout.

While attorneys talked terms in private, the Saturday afternoon rally was filled with symbolism. Out-of-state teachers traveled to Union Park in solidarity with a city teachers union that has attracted national attention as organized labor looks for lessons in a fight with cash-strapped government.

Representatives from teachers unions in Wisconsin and Minnesota spoke, as did the  Rev. Jesse Jackson and Lorretta Johnson, secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Teachers

"I remember in Baltimore, we had a 95 percent strike, but it didn't look like this," Johnson said, referencing the 90 percent support Chicago's strike vote got. "You have proven to the world that you're not going to take it anymore.

"The challenge was to stand up for the children, and you have done that."

Union officials on Friday hoped for as many as 50,000 to show their support Saturday. Instead, a crowd that police put at 2,500 jammed into a corner of the park to chant, shout and march in support of a strike they say is about securing the best learning conditions for students. The smaller turnout was perhaps indicative that the union's agreement to a framework with the district -- paired with a long week of picketing -- left many teachers deciding to stay home.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis kept the rhetorical pressure on, however, seeking to avoid losing leverage as details are hammered out.

Lewis energized the crowd by saying she wanted the air conditioning turned off at CPS headquarters and Rahm Emanuel's City Hall office so they could work in the same conditions as some of the city's teachers and students.

Then Lewis offered a warning in advance of an anticipated House of Delegates vote Sunday in which members could opt to end to the strike and start a process to approve a contract.

"A woman came up to me and said she got a text from her principal telling her faculty to report to work tomorrow and Monday to prepare their rooms, and what I want to tell you is, we're still on strike," Lewis said as the crowd cheered.

"We have the framework for an agreement. We don't have an agreement. So, until you hear it from CTU ..."

"It's not true!" teachers shouted back.

The atmosphere resembled that of a street festival, with families and friends posing for photos and a marching band parading through the park.

Before speakers took the stage, Paul Mulchrone, a music teacher at Carter Elementary in the Washington Park neighborhood, sat on a blanket under a tree with his three children.

"We're striking for a fair contract, but we're also using this strike to send a message," said Mulchrone, who added that he had been picketing and knocking on doors in his school's neighborhood all week. "If you want us to improve test scores or however you measure it, then we need the resources and we need (the city) to invest in the schools."

The Chicago rally came a day after a Wisconsin judge struck down nearly all of a law pushed by Republican Gov.  Scott Walker that would have ended collective bargaining rights for most public workers in that state.

"Greetings of solidarity from Wisconsin, from the state where teachers led the fight against Gov. Walker to the city where teachers are standing firm against Rahm Emanuel!" Bob Peterson, president of the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association, shouted from the stage. "Walker and Emanuel are two sides of the same pro-corporate, pro-privatization agenda."

Afterward, some of those in attendance marched a little more than two miles west to Garfield Park.

On Sunday, union leaders have the task of selling the deal to members, many of whom have rallied for months over double-digit salary increases for working a longer school day and getting better school conditions.