Geneva teachers, board back at negotiating table tonight
The Geneva School District 304 Board of Education and the Geneva Education Association (GEA) are slated to resume contract negotiations tonight, with teacher salaries remaining the primary bone of contention.
GEA’s more than 450 teachers have been on strike since Dec. 4. In their latest proposal, board officials offered raises of up to $12,949 for full-time teachers on the salary schedule over the life of the four-year contract. In all, more than $5.5 million—a 17.69 percent increase—was being offered.
“We expect that the GEA will provide a response and/or a counterproposal at tonight’s negotiating session,” district officials said in a press release. “We are hopeful that tonight’s session will either achieve or move us closer toward a fair and fiscally responsible contract agreement that is in the best interest of all District 304 stakeholders—students, parents and families, teachers, staff and the taxpayers who fund our public schools.”
The two sides also differed about what salary model makes the most sense going forward, with GEA members insisting that a traditional step-and-lane salary model would be the most practical.
“It is important to emphasize that current proposals from both the Board and the GEA feature a nontraditional step and lane schedule,” officials added in the release. “The Board’s model provides all teachers both a percentage salary increase and an additional dollar increase, while the GEA’s reverts back to the historical percentage-based increase. The Board’s model was developed collaboratively with the GEA in a small group that included both the Board president and the GEA president. It provides certainty around teacher compensation, ensuring that the District, its teachers and the taxpayers that fund our schools can anticipate and plan in a realistic and sustainable manner.”