LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on a strike by Los Angeles school teachers (all times local):

5:40 p.m.

The Los Angeles Unified School District says student absences during the ongoing teacher strike have cost the district about $97 million over four days.

Officials estimate slightly more than 83,900 students attended LAUSD's schools on Thursday — 37 percent fewer than on Tuesday.

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Attendance has plummeted during the strike. Because state funding is dependent on how many students attend, the absences cost the district money. At the same time, LAUSD doesn't have to spend about $10 million a day on teacher pay during the walkout.

Contract negotiations resumed Thursday for the first time since talks broke down last week. Teachers plan to walk picket lines for a fifth day on Friday.

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4:20 p.m.

The head of the union representing school principals is urging the Los Angeles Unified School District to close schools until the ongoing teachers strike is over.

Juan Flecha, president of Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, called for the closures in an email to district officials on Thursday. If the district can't close the schools, Flecha asked for additional resources for principals who've helped keep campuses running while teachers walk picket lines.

LAUSD officials didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Flecha says he's received hundreds of emails and calls from principals concerned about school conditions and personal safety.

Schools have been staffed a skeleton crew of substitute teachers and administrators supervising large groups of students.

LAUSD says schools need stay remain open to provide a safe place for students.

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12:42 p.m.

Contract negotiations between teachers and the Los Angeles Unified School District have resumed for the first time since thousands of educators went on strike.

United Teachers Los Angeles spokeswoman Kim Turner confirms talks are underway Thursday.

The new negotiations were facilitated by the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti and are being held at Los Angeles City Hall.

It's the fourth day of teachers walking picket lines in the nation's second-largest school district. The strike followed 21 months of fruitless bargaining.

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9:10 a.m.

Los Angeles teachers are back on rainy picket lines for a fourth day.

The strike continued Thursday with a new round of contract bargaining with the Los Angeles Unified School District scheduled at midday.

United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl said it would be unrealistic to assume the new bargaining session could immediately end the walkout after 21 months of negotiations had failed to produce an agreement.

He says there are still hard issues to work through.

Thursday's bargaining will be held at City Hall, facilitated by the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti.

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8 a.m.

Los Angeles teachers and school district officials will return to the bargaining table with hopes of ending a costly and divisive strike in the nation's second-largest school district.

The office of Mayor Eric Garcetti says both sides have agreed to resume contract negotiations Thursday at City Hall, with the mayor's office facilitating.

But there's no word on whether either side will provide a new offer as the walkout enters its fourth day.

Teachers plan to keep walking picket lines as they push for higher pay, smaller class sizes and more nurses and counselors. School officials say the money isn't there and the demands could bankrupt the system.

There have been no talks since negotiations ended Friday.

Schools remain open, staffed by substitutes, and the district says student attendance is about one-quarter the usual numbers.