Geneva District 304 submits latest offer to teachers union amid talk of strike

 
 
Updated 10/10/2018 10:18 PM
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The Geneva Unit School District 304 school board submitted its latest contract offer Wednesday to its teachers union, which could strike by the end of October if a deal isn't reached.

The school board's latest offer includes annual salary increases of $1,800 during the three-year contract, or an aggregate increase of 7.8 percent. Additionally, teachers who complete graduate level professional development will receive an additional 3 percent increase.

"The board strongly believes in and respects our teachers," the school board said in a statement. "We want to compensate them fairly and competitively for their work, while operating within the financial means of the district."

The school board also said it is not changing cost-sharing agreements for teachers and their dependents for health, medical, dental and life insurance, despite anticipated rising costs.

Until now, negotiations between the school board and teachers union have remained under wraps. However, the union last week initiated a formal dispute resolution that requires both parties to release the latest offers to the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board and the public.

Kevin Gannon, president of the Geneva Education Association, which represents the district's approximately 450 teachers and other certified personnel, said the offer released to the labor relations board and parents was not the last offer provided to the union.

"The board is not being forthcoming," Gannon said in an emailed statement.

Gannon contends the school board's offer does not change that the district's teachers are the lowest compensated in Kane County. He said the district has resources to meet the union's requests without laying off teachers or cutting programs.

"Teachers are delaying starting families, donating plasma and working extra jobs just to make ends meet," Gannon said. "Our students deserve more. Our community deserves more. Our teachers deserve a fair wage."

Gannon said the union intends to submit its latest offer on Thursday.

Last week, the teachers union voted to authorize leaders to call a strike if a deal isn't reached. The earliest a walkout could happen is Oct. 31.

In the Batavia school district, beginning teachers with a bachelor's degree and no graduate-school coursework are paid $41,923 a year. In the St. Charles district, such a teacher starts at $43,753.

In Geneva, the starting annual salary in the 2017 school year was $40,589.

The teachers have been working without a contract since August, when a three-year deal expired.

In 2012, the teachers union was set to go on strike in November, but reached a tentative agreement the day before.

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