Teachers In Geneva Agree To 5-Year Contract, Classes Resume

Bernie Tafoya
December 11, 2018 - 10:51 am

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

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GENEVA, Ill. (AP/WBBM NEWSRADIO) - Teachers and students are back in classes Tuesday in one suburban school district, with the threat of a teachers strike looming in another district.

Geneva School District 304's nearly 6,000 stuents resumed classes on Tuesday, as teachers voted Monday to a new five-year contract. 

“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."

Monday afternoon's vote came several hours after the teachers union announced that a tentative agreement was reached after a negotiating session with a federal mediator. 

This contract agreement came as a compromise, with salary proposals as the main dispute. It 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 contract will truly allow us to both attract new and talented educators and retain our experienced, veteran teachers," Gannon said.

The negotiation process began in February that led to a strike that began Tuesday, Dec. 4. The strike caused schools to be closed and the cancellation or postponement of many activities, including games for sports teams. 

According to the Geneva Education Association, teachers received over-whelming support from parents, students and community members. Parents and community members joined members on the picket line, spread our positive message online and marched alongside of them.

“Despite all the amazing support, these past seven days have been filled with uncertainty, fear and at times, anger. Our teachers are people: they are moms, dads, members of our community, just like my family. Now that this is over, we all need to go back to regular routines,” said Alicia Saxton, Geneva District 304 parent. “I knew I had to keep supporting our teachers throughout this ordeal. These are my neighbors, my friends, and most importantly, they are helping shape my kids’ lives. They are extremely important to me and our community.”

The previous contract had expired in August. 

The GEA represents 465 teachers in District 304’s nine schools and serves the district’s 5,800 students. The union said two-thirds of the 450 members of the union voted in favor of the tentative agreement.

Meanwhile the Palatine-Schaumburg Township High School District 211 school board posted a message to parents on Monday saying contract talks have come loggerheads with its teachers, who could hit the picket lines next week