Geneva Teachers Give Notice of Intent to Strike

After a day-long negotiating session, the School Board and GEA get closer to resolution but salaries remain the sticking point.

Geneva School Board President Mark Grosso delivered the sad news in a brief telephone conversation around 10:30 p.m. Friday, after a long day of negotiations with the Geneva Education Association.

"Despite progress on several of the issues, the GEA has given notice of its intent to strike," Grosso said.

The soonest date that a strike could take place is Nov. 9.

The next mediation session has tentatively been set for Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Grosso said he felt the negotiations made tremendous progress and both sides were close to agreement on many of the major points outlined in the final offers posted by the School Board and the GEA—with one important exception.

"Salary is the issue, I can tell you that," Grosso said.

The board and the union have been meeting since February, with the aid of a federal mediator since July, in an effort to successfully negotiate a contract. The previous contract expired Aug. 15.

Friday's meeting between the Board of Education, GEA and a federal mediator lasted nearly 12 hours, according to a School District 304 press release.

"The board remains committed to negotiating an agreement that is good for students, fair to teachers, and fiscally responsible. The board also remains hopeful that union members will continue to work until an agreement is reached," the press release said. "Given the notice filed today, however, it would be negligent of the district not to plan in advance for the possibility of a strike. 

"The School Board will prepare a strike plan, detailing how it will communicate with parents and the community regarding plans during a possible strike.  District officials will make every effort to keep the Geneva 304 community informed through the district’s emergency notification system, 304Connects emails, and the board’s negotiations webpage." 

The GEA's final offer, submitted Oct. 19, sought a 1 percent cost-of-living increase plus a 2.65 percent "step" and no limits on "lane" increases for the first year of a three-year contract.

Each lane increase—granted for completion of eight hours of advanced-degree course work—increases salaries by 2.65 percent up to a master's degree and more than 5 percent after a master's degree.

The School Board's Oct. 19 final offer sought a hard freeze for the 2012-13 school year.

The District 304 press release underlined that the Oct. 19 final offer "does not reflect the conversations that have taken place between the board and the union since the declaration of impasse two weeks ago."


Oct. 19 GEA Final Salary Offer


2012/2013 — Certified Staff will be given step and lane movement with an addition of 1% to the salary schedule.

2013/2014 — Certified staff will be given step and lane movement with an addition of 1% to the salary schedule.

2014/2015 — Certified staff will take a pay freeze for the first half of the year. In the second half of the year certified staff will be given step and lane movement.

Oct. 19 School Board Final Salary Offer


2012/2013 — 0% increase to salary schedule; no step increase; no lane movement, but a one- time, non-recurring $500 stipend for those teachers that would qualify for lane movement

2013/2014 — 1.40% increase to the salary schedule; no step increase; teachers who qualify may move as many as three (3) lanes across salary schedule

2014/2015 — 0% increase to salary schedule; step increase (2.65%); teachers who qualify may move across one (1) lane only


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LMS October 29, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Kelli- Although I agree with your overall view on things, I feel that you should rethink what you are saying about salary indicating how great a teacher is. There are tons of dedicated professionals that care about children in underperforming schools that work there to make a difference and not to make a larger salary. As a teacher who worked in a struggling district for 3 years, I would conclude that Geneva teachers have it quite nice. Most students come prepared with supplies, have eaten breakfast (let alone dinner the night before), and have parents willing to come in and help. EVERY SCHOOL has both great and not so great teachers... SALARY DOES NOT MAKE THE TEACHER.
Victor Viking October 30, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Let's hope the process works itself out quickly. For those of you on here questioning whether or not you can have a meeting with the BOE, I'm not sure of the process, but I do know that we, the people of Geneva, voted them onto to Board. That's our part of the process. If we don't like the end result, we make our voices heard at the next election. One more thing, I'm not pro-teacher or pro-Board, I'm pro-student. I see valid arguments on both sides and yet, I lean towards being fiscally responsible. You can't spend what you do not have. Mr. McQuillan, or anyone else with more experience with financials, any chance of restructuring the debt (refinance, like a home mortgage comes to mind as an example) with a lower interest rate? For all of you, I'm not looking to get into a shouting match like most of what I've seen on the comment feeds about this issue. I may not agree with what your stance is, but I respect your right to express it.
Holy Moly!!! October 30, 2012 at 12:01 PM
This entire situation is very damaging to our students. Far beyond teaching a specific curriculum, teachers have a very unique position, and are frequently admired by the children they teach. They are mentors and advisors to our society's young people. What are the students of D304 learning from their teachers? They are learning to be unreasonable. They are learning to be inflexible. They are learning not to look at the circumstances and understand the issues at hand. They are learning not to have empathy during hardships. We are in a recession. Many students have unemployed family members. Many students have lost their homes. Many students parents are working two jobs to make ends meet. Some students have parents who work as ancillary staff, who have had to accept pay freezes. Simply put, a VERY BAD EXAMPLE by the Geneva teachers and their union. Disheartened.
Jen Marsh October 30, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Rick Nagel October 31, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Julie: I had a conversation and traded emails with one of the male teachers at Williamsburg Elementary, and he says with certainty and conviction that none of those gentlemen are posting as "btown95." Hope that helps and ends the speculation.


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