- Editor's note: This is the ninth of a 10-part countdown of articles looking back at the Geneva newsmakers of 2012. The No. 1 newsmaker will be Geneva Patch's 2012 "Person of the Year."
Our No. 2 Geneva newsmaker of 2012 might come as a little surprise because she was someone who worked behind the scenes more often than she did in the spotlight, but to say Carol Young wasn't part of the biggest news story of the year would be to ignore her key role and leadership.
Geneva Patch is more than 2 years old now, and it's safe to say that no story captured the attention of the community more than the 2012 teacher-contract negotiations.
Young, a kindergarten teacher at Harrison Street School, is the president of the Geneva Education Association, the union that pushed negotiations to the limit but ultimately came to an 11th-hour agreement that allowed school to continue without a teachers strike.
If you're looking for the best last-hour deal of 2012, "Fiscal Cliff" folks would have to take second fiddle to the GEA/School Board negotiations.
In the process of the contract negotiations, it came to be known that Young is married to Steve Young, a former teacher and co-chair of the Illinois Education Association's Joint Task Force on Retirement Security. Many observers suggested the GEA's negotiations tactics and statements were scripted by the IEA, and the similarities of statements made by other local unions during contract and strike talks in other Illinois districts supports that notion.
Still, there is no doubt the Geneva union had its own set of issues and direction.
Young and the GEA brought the usually closed negotiations talks into the public arena. Hundreds of teachers wore green shirts to Geneva School Board meetings from August through October and staged walk-ins on Thursdays at Geneva schools. The GEA created its own website, gea4students.com, and distributed "I (heart) Geneva Teachers" signs in yards around town, picketed before School Board meetings and issued press releases that included a Nov. 1 open letter to the public.
The GEA was successful at reaching many of its goals, including enhanced retirement perks for the next three years, the preservation of step and lane increases and concessions on involuntary work transfer, extending the teacher work day, security cameras and special-education teacher workload. There was only a marginal increase in starting salaries for teachers, moving from $39,651 in the first year to $39,730 in the last year of the new contract.
In return, it agreed to a one-year salary freeze and to take part in a task force that will look at longterm teacher compensation models, including merit-based pay and a possible end to retirement salary spiking.
Young didn't do a lot of public speaking, but her quiet and steady leadership set the tone for school contract negotiations and ultimately resulted in a deal that prevented a teachers strike, avoided a work stoppage and kept Geneva students in school.
- Schools Post Negotiations Webpage; FAQs Available on GEA, D304 Sites
- Geneva School Board, GEA Resume Talks Friday
- Reports: GEA Members Authorize Strike; Nov. 9 Earliest Possible Strike
- Geneva Teachers Express Frustration Over Stalled Negotiations
- Geneva Teachers Stage 'Walk In' at High School, Middle Schools
- UPDATE: Geneva School Board Calls Special Meeting to Discuss Teacher Negotiations
- Is a Teachers' Strike Possible in Geneva? Green Buttons Show Solidarity on First Day of School
- UPDATE: Teachers Come Out in Force, Wearing Green, to Seek 'Respect and Compensation We All Deserve'
- Geneva School Board Caught Between Budget Rock, Teachers Contract Hard Place
- Patch Poll: How Much of An Increase Should Geneva Teachers Get?
- Batavia Teachers Get Raises in New Two-Year Contract; Geneva Still Negotiating
- Where Do You Stand on the Geneva Teachers' Union Negotiations?
- Geneva Teachers Expected to Picket Before Tuesday School Board
- State Teachers Union Announces Geneva Talks at Impasse
- UPDATE: Geneva Teachers Union Posts Its 'Final Offer'
- District 304: GEA's 'Final Offer' Calls for 18% Salary Hike in Final 3 Years Before Retirement
- Teacher Talks Resume Friday; Here's the Timeline If an Agreement Isn't Reached
- Geneva School Board's 'Final Offer' Made Public
- Geneva Teachers Give Notice of Intent to Strike
- School Board: Union's 'Rigid Stance' Kept Parties Apart for Months; GEA Responds
- Patch Poll: Which Offer Is More Fair to Teachers and Taxpayers?
- UPDATE—Geneva School Board: GEA Filed Intent to Strike While Sitting at Negotiations Table
- Geneva School District Outlines Plans in Case of Teacher's Strike
- GEA Posts Open Letter to Geneva Citizens
- Geneva School Board Releases Its Most Recent Contract Offer; Special Meeting Monday
- 'Show Will Go On' for the GHS Fall Play—Even If There's a Teachers Strike
- Will You Keep Your Kids Home Or Send Them, If There's a Strike?
- VIDEO UPDATE: New Voices Speak, Picketing Rules Set at School District 304 Special Meeting
- Details, Procedures For Geneva Parents, Students in Case of a Teachers Strike
- Geneva School Board Posts Most Recent Offer to GEA
- School Still Scheduled for Monday in Geneva
- Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 10: Jenny McCarthy
- Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 9: Pam Broviak
- Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 8: Todd Searcy
- Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 7: Steve LeMaire
- Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 6: Kevin Burns
- Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 5: Nicole Wiesner
- Geneva Newsmakers Countdown 2012—No. 4: Joe Stanton
- Geneva Newsmakers Countdown 2012—No. 3: Bob McQuillan
- Geneva Newsmakers Countdown 2012—No. 2: Carol Young
- Geneva Patch Person of the Year 2012: Mark Grosso
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