GENEVA – The Geneva Education Association (GEA) called for public posting of the most recent offers exchanged between the GEA and the District 304 Board of Education after the most recent round of negotiations failed to produce a tentative agreement. GEA members voted overwhelmingly Sunday to authorize a strike. The earliest a strike could occur would be October 31, 2018.
Contract talks began on February 15, 2018, and the GEA’s 459 teachers started the school year without a contract. The last four negotiations have been aided by a mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
“From the very beginning of these negotiations our association has maintained a commitment to reach an agreement that puts the district’s 5,800 students first; promotes a high quality education; is fair for the teachers; and is fiscally responsible to the community of Geneva,” said Kevin Gannon, president of the GEA. “We have been working to find common ground with the school board. We know the district has the financial ability to pay our teachers wages that are competitive with other districts of our caliber.”
The association’s call for public posting is a legal requirement under which both the GEA and the Board of Education are required to submit their offers to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board for public posting. In 14 days, the IELRB will post both offers on its web site if a tentative agreement has not been reached.
“A strike is the last thing we want and we are continuing to do everything in our power to avoid that possibility,” said Gannon. “The GEA is simply trying to attract and retain quality teachers to serve our students and maintain the standard of excellence we now provide to the students in Geneva. Under the school board’s proposals, Geneva teachers will continue to lag behind nearby districts in salaries and the gap will continue to grow. We do not want to keep losing our newer colleagues to neighboring districts.”
“It’s time for the school board to come to the table with the same type of commitment to fairness,” said Gannon. “We are willing to meet anytime to continue to negotiate a fair agreement.”
The next mediation session is currently scheduled for October 23, 2018.
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.