Geneva School Board: Agreement Reached on 1st Year; Latest Offer to Be Posted Today

Another negotiation session is set for Sunday.

School District 304 issued a press release and eblast at around 12:05 p.m. Friday indicating the board made "substantial movement" during a 10-hour Thursday night negotiating session and questioning a reason for a strike.

The Board of Education and Geneva Education Association reached an agreement on the first year of the contract.

"With the current school year resolved, the Board of Education does not understand the GEA’s urgency to strike, as the union is effectively walking out over issues that would not take effect until the 2013-14 school year," the press release says.

The board disagrees with the statement in the press release issued earlier today (Friday) by GEA President Carol Young that it “rejected [the GEA’s] offers of compromise.” 

Here is the press release in full:

Negotiations Update Press Release 

The Board of Education and the Geneva Education Association continued negotiations for 10 hours on Thursday afternoon and evening with the help of a federal mediator. The parties also met for 8 hours on Tuesday in an effort to negotiate a new contract.

Upon ending negotiations Thursday, the Board of Education and GEA had come to agreement on all substantial issues relating to the first year of the new contract, as acknowledged by union President Carol Young in her Nov. 9 statement. With the first year of the contract effectively settled, and the federal mediator unable to meet on Monday due to the national holiday, the board agreed to meet on Tuesday, Nov. 13, having no indication that a strike would be called for Monday. 

With the current school year resolved, the Board of Education does not understand the GEA’s urgency to strike, as the union is effectively walking out over issues that would not take effect until the 2013-14 school year. 

Contrary to the GEA’s characterization of the Board of Education as having “rejected [the GEA’s] offers of compromise,” the board feels it has negotiated in good faith and has made substantial movement in its offers. The latest offer given to the GEA on Thursday will be posted later today on the district’s website

With the news of the GEA’s intent to walk off the job on Monday, Board President Mark Grosso reached out to union President Carol Young and scheduled a negotiating session for Sunday. The board remains committed to negotiating an agreement that is good for students, fair to teachers and fiscally responsible. 

Updates on the negotiations process and strike planning will continue to be posted on the board’s negotiations webpage and communicated to families through the district’s emergency notification system. 


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The Truth November 10, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Maxwell, I have followed all that has been said. I only tell you the truth. Is the laughter comment meant to be biting sarcasm? Ooohh, ouch. If I were to make assumptions, as you and others have done routinely, I would have to assume, based on all the hatred and teacher bashing I have read, that Geneva is full of jealous, petty, and miserable people who would cut your heart out and then ask you to thank them for it. Fortunately, I know many more than the few who post here that are kind, positive, and thankful to those that educate, care, comfort, and support the children of Geneva, They recognize the value and impact their teachers have on their childs life and can separate the discrepency teachers have with the BOE and the quality of the work they do within the classroom. How about people begin to act like adults here.
Silence Dogood November 10, 2012 at 01:40 AM
The Truth - I believe you have it backwards - you should be asking "what will the teachers do to gain back the trust of these parents and community who have entrusted them with the education, caring and well being of your children."
Lisa P November 10, 2012 at 01:48 AM
The more I read the comments the more I realize this is a statewide problem, not just a Geneva problem. The union negotiators are nothing more than hired guns going from town to town, inciting the teachers/local unions, how can a community hope to come out ahead? They are pros, they do this for a living! They use tactics like comparing salaries from other districts, pitting district against district, in the hopes the communities give in to stay competitive. I’m really sickened by the whole thing; we need a Chris Christie in Illinois...
DK November 10, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Max- Insults to my intelligence and taking my words out of context aside, I appreciate the point you are making. MAYBE IF I USE CAPITAL LETTERS WHEN MAKING MY POINTS, YOU WILL UNDERSTAND WHAT THE TRUTH AND I ARE TRYING TO SAY. There simply is more to the story than is being discussed in these comments. I understand that the economy is not doing well right now, but to say that teachers have not suffered "at all" is foolish. Everyone is suffering in this economy. I'm sure there are teachers whose spouses have lost their jobs, and we are all seeing higher prices at grocery stores and at the pump. As The Truth said, the teachers have repeatedly come to the table and offered concessions. It is not their fault that the administration lacks the competence or willingness to solve the crisis. Despite what you might think, I'm not a teacher. But, I can still appreciate the situation and I want my children to go to school in a district where the teachers are respected by both the administrators and their community. If you think this is just about taxes, then I think you are the one "not able to comprehend the relationship of the most basic facts of this matter as they relate to one another." The administration has not presented a clear plan for resolving this crisis, and we should not ask our teachers to accept a short term solution that might end up jeopardizing the quality of the Geneva School District in the long run.
Silence Dogood November 10, 2012 at 02:47 AM
The Truth - we are easily separating the 2. We recognize the value and impact the that teachers have on their child's life. The most recent impact is one of teachers leading their students to believe that it's not their fault they're walking out and leaving the students in the lurch. But I digress... Why is it that every teacher's union argument always comes back to the quality of the teachers? I tend to believe another important factor might be the quality of the parents, and the home life those parents provide here in Geneva. The ones who chose to live in this community for the benefit of their children, based upon all the advantages available by living here.The parents who encourage their children to be involved in school activities, be they choir, sports, band, student council, various clubs, etc. The parents who support these activities, with their involvement, support and their $. You might have noticed that the signs the subdivisions used as an attractant read, "Geneva Schools". Not specifically "Geneva Teachers", but "Geneva Schools", and ALL that involves. Perhaps the teachers should be thanking their lucky stars that they are able to be employed in such a community - there are many teachers in other communities dealing with major issues on a daily basis. Outright lack of money, violence in the classroom, parent apathy, the assumption that Public School is nothing more than glorified daycare - all those little 'perks' that CUSD 304 teachers don't get.
Anonymous November 10, 2012 at 02:48 AM
No we need someone more like a Scott Walker!
DK November 10, 2012 at 02:50 AM
So that we can pass an unconstitutional law that will be struck down leaving everyone in a worse position than they were in before? Or maybe you didn't know that almost every bit of Scott Walker's collective bargaining actions are no longer good law in Wisconsin.
Sue J November 10, 2012 at 02:50 AM
You and the Truth are only looking through your teacher glasses. How can you remotely think pension spiking is a fair practice to the taxpayer? Please justify. How can you believe that a teacher on the job one more year automatically makes them a better teacher? Same old union lines.
Edward Highsmith November 10, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Those of you that can't leave your real name have no business posting either way on the topic...cowards!
Max November 10, 2012 at 02:54 AM
No sarcasm, just fact -- and no teacher-bashing. But we have gone from tolerance to outright disdain for a union which our teachers passively allow to represent its narrow interests ahead of their own. Do not fail to see the truth: we do recognize the impact teachers have on a child's life. But, that is most emphatically not what is at issue here. Remember, the teachers -- as a bargaining group -- have nothing that we want. They are a commodity in the present market, since there are literally thousands waiting to take their places. And, most tellingly, teachers are in the position of trying to take from us something they cannot justify. If they could justify more money, they wouldn't need the threat of a strike -- or any other form of intimidation. It is astoundingly naive for teachers to approve of their union's actions, based on some imagined slight by the BoE. It seems the GEA's position, which you endorse, is that any resistance whatsoever coming from the Board is illegal, immoral and fattening -- yet GEA demands backed by the threat of a strike are "just the way these things are done." Were the BoE to lower itself to union standards of "bargaining", it would long ago have threatened, and made appropriate preparations for, a lock-out of all union-represented teachers. That is an employer's equivalent of the level to which the GEA/IEA has descended -- but of course the Board has done nothing of the kind.
DK November 10, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Sue, I question whether you actually read my comment considering I clearly stated that I am not a teacher. I fear that you are missing the point I'm making. I agree with you completely. Pension spiking and automatic raises are not fair to the taxpayer. I would be willing to see them go, and the union has agreed to some concessions in this regard. Admittedly, the union has not, as far as I know, been willing to give them up completely, but that is a different debate. The problem lies in the fact that the administration has not or will not present any alternative plan. All they do is give a vague, ambiguous offer with no clear information about how any substantive changes will be implemented in the future. It is simply not fair to ask the teachers to accept an administration plan when the union has no idea what it is agreeing to.
DK November 10, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Max advised me in a comment two hours ago to leave my identity secret, lest I be laughed out of town.
DK November 10, 2012 at 03:02 AM
In my opinion, Geneva Resident, the problem with accepting a short term solution is that it leaves the possibility that we would just get to go through all of this again a year from now. Doing so is not fair to our community or our students, and I certainly think that qualifies as endangering the school district in the long run. This should be resolved in its entirety instead of letting things drag on.
Edward Highsmith November 10, 2012 at 03:21 AM
@Geneva resident...of course you do, when it's in private. I'm sure you are correct in your last statement. I got a 3.2% raise working for John Deere last year. My kids go to Geneva schools and have had nothing but positive experiences. A lot of us in the "private sector" have struggled, so you only feel right if the teachers struggle too. Even though some of us make a lot more $$$. You are probably the same parents that complain to you kid's teacher when he gets an 89.1% and they don't round it up to an A.
DK November 10, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Well, Geneva Resident, I guess you and I just see it differently. I assumed you were referring to the first year solution that was agreed upon today. You are free to disagree with my opinion. However, I simply don't think it is fair to ask the teachers to let the administration that caused this problem walk all over them, and then thank the administration for letting them keep their jobs. And again, this is not about the pay cuts. It is about the power play that the administration is asserting. There are long lasting effects of any new contract, and the teachers are right to stand up for themselves against an administration that is not willing to put forth a reasonable plan. I also find the closing to your comment rather revealing as well. As you see it, you believe the teachers are being unreasonable and your plan to get back at them is by refusing to do things that will ultimately directly benefit the students, like giving money to the PTO and volunteering in the classroom. Do I have that right? If so, I hope you will reevaluate the consequences of your actions and not take your anger out on the students.
Silence Dogood November 10, 2012 at 03:30 AM
DK. Yes, everyone is suffering in this economy. Having said that, stating that that the administration lacks the competence or willingness to solve the crisis does seem to favor one side just a wee bit. Population of Geneva, approximately 22,000. Geneva Teachers, approximately 400. Simple math makes that 1.82% of the Geneva population. Last time I looked, that makes the BOE answerable to a much larger group than just the Union teachers. And, as in all things, respect needs to be earned. That respect which has been earned, can also be diminished or lost by holding the student's school year hostage with demands that are easily perceived as being out of line with what is appropriate for current economic conditions. If indeed as you state, acceptance of a simple short term solution appropriate to current conditions is truly perceived by the GEA as to "end up jeopardizing the quality of the Geneva School District", then it appears that district has much larger problems than just a looming teachers strike. In that case, perhaps investigating a complete teardown and rebuild of the teachers compensation system might be in order.
Edward Highsmith November 10, 2012 at 03:42 AM
@gevena resident....maybe they are a single parent or their other half got laid off. Besides, average salary is not a real good indicator anyway. $75000 would have been great when we were younger, 20 years ago. That is good to hear about your kid. At least you and the schools worked well together to provide a stable academic climate...and I mean that in all seriousness.
DK November 10, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Silence Dogood, I think you would be better served by living up to what your profile name implies. Everything you said does not change the fact that the administrators have failed to present a reasonable plan with clear guidelines as to how the compensation structure will work. It is not fair to ask the teachers to sign a contract when they simply don't know exactly what they are agreeing to. If you truly believe the teachers have taken the school year hostage with their unreasonable demands, I doubt I will ever be able to change your perception. However, in my opinion, I find it ridiculous that the administration, the people responsible for running the school district, cannot present a reasonable, acceptable solution for this situation.
DK November 10, 2012 at 04:04 AM
No, Geneva Resident, you do not have that right. Comparing yourself to the teachers is like comparing apples and oranges. At stake for the teachers is their ability to perform their job effectively, the health of the school district, and their own professional livelihood. The only thing you stand to gain is feeling better about yourself through your vindictive actions. Accepting a bad contract would be very harmful to the district and the teachers themselves. I believe they are right to reject what they see as a contract with the potential to be very damaging to their profession. Therefore, as I see it, the teachers are working in the best interests of the students by making sure they remain equipped to perform the tasks set before them and provide the youth of Geneva with a quality education.
Silence Dogood November 10, 2012 at 04:06 AM
DK - nice pithy retort! So if I interpret your other post correctly, rather than both sides agreeing to a 1 year contract based upon the supposed current state of agreement for year 1, and revisiting the issue of years 2 & 3 down the road a bit, with both sides having cooled off a bit and possible improved economic changes potentially making the union demands more palatable , you believe that it more beneficial to the students to disrupt their school year now, regardless of how long this takes, to force a solution under pressure that really does not have to be finalized now. Then we will end up with either a potentially disgruntled teaching staff, or aggrieved taxpayer base. Have I got it now?
DK November 10, 2012 at 04:14 AM
Silence Dogood, I see now where your hostility towards teachers must come from. I too would be angry if my education were so poor that no one ever taught me the meaning of the word "pithy." My problem with your proposed solution is that the administration has done nothing to show that they will be capable of coming up with a reasonable plan after a year to think about it (see also, the "fiscal cliff" situation that will soon be dominating our news cycle). Giving them that time probably only delays the inevitable, so why not do what it takes to find a permanent solution sooner rather than later?
DK November 10, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Thank you for the professional advice Geneva Resident. However, I don't think it would be in my best interest to take such advice from someone with such poor reading comprehension. In response to your most recent post, I will leave you with an exact quote from what I posted earlier in this discussion: "I agree with you completely. Pension spiking and automatic raises are not fair to the taxpayer. I would be willing to see them go, and the union has agreed to some concessions in this regard. Admittedly, the union has not, as far as I know, been willing to give them up completely, but that is a different debate. The problem lies in the fact that the administration has not or will not present any alternative plan. All they do is give a vague, ambiguous offer with no clear information about how any substantive changes will be implemented in the future. It is simply not fair to ask the teachers to accept an administration plan when the union has no idea what it is agreeing to."
John November 10, 2012 at 04:44 AM
That's the truth. The IEA are like a bunch of carpetbaggers going from town to town and whipping the local teachers into a lather that they're being disrespected. Then they move on to the next town.
John November 10, 2012 at 04:45 AM
Wonder which town the IEA has targeted next?
Max November 10, 2012 at 05:16 AM
DK, I can only take your words the way you put them on the page. It's your responsibility to connect them with the context within which you intend them to be read. I also don't read palms or tea leaves. I did not say the teachers have not suffered "at all", period. I did say: "TEACHERS HAVE NOT SUFFERED at all, WRT pay, benefits and work rules." Got that? "...WRT pay, benefits and work rules." To the extent teachers live with the rest of us in the real world, their gas costs $3.65 a gallon, too. But D-304 teachers have been protected by the terms of their contract against job loss, pay cuts and other uncertainties from which the average worker has no protection. Is that not clear to you? In addition, your claim that teachers' spouses may have suffered some of the same financial losses that D-304 residents have suffered is irrelevant. If these spouses wish to enter into a separate negotiation, they are welcome to arrange for their own representation -- rather than being carried like a papoose by their wives/husbands. I can hardly wait to see how such claims would be treated in the court of public opinion, not to mention before an actual judge. It is to laugh -- heartily. The BoE has offered an increase in compensation over the term of the contract; taxes are irrelevant to the negotiations; and, if the teachers wish to be respected they must act respectably. Period.
Silence Dogood November 10, 2012 at 05:29 AM
Gee, DK, really? nice try, though. http://vocabulary-vocabulary.com/dictionary/pithy.php (see definition 2). brief, yet forceful and to the point, and often witty or clever. Seemed to work for me, seemed complimentary to you. Mea culpa if that particular definition doesn't suit you. (Or does mea culpa not work for you, either?) Now, as to being hostile to teachers? Nope, sorry. For what its worth, I have teachers in my close family, and I have relatives that are currently going to school to become teachers. I also have friends that are teachers ( and yes I am on good terms with all of them). Had some really good, inspiring teachers; had a few that should have probably have been in other professions. Hostile, nope. Now if you want to label me as highly disappointed with the union deciding that its only option is to strike and the resulting impact on the community, you are 100% correct. It appears to me that if you truly believe that the BOE "has done nothing to show that they will be capable of coming up with a reasonable plan after a year to think about it." then you must truly believe that any further negotiations are futile, period. In that case why bother with any further negotiations at all, as I seriously doubt that putting the process into the "pressure cooker" environment provided by a strike is going to deliver anything approximating a successful, mutually acceptable agreement.
DK November 10, 2012 at 05:31 AM
Max- Pro Tip: Generally when you begin and end a quote from someone with an ellipsis (that's a fancy word for "...") it means you are taking something out of context. As for the rest of your rambling, I don't have the energy to sort through all of that. I have no idea what you even mean by "WRT pay." So no, I guess I don't "got that." At this point, I just hope both parties can end things quickly and amicably, which requires respect by both parties.
Concerned Citizen November 10, 2012 at 12:18 PM
I agree with the BOE's position. Is there anything I can do to help? Is help needed supervising the children's activities during the strike? I also possess a wealth of information on various topics based on my many years of professional experience. I have no problem putting together presentations on subjects. Is it possible to stream content from Khan? ( http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7401696n)
Jeff Fairchild November 10, 2012 at 02:43 PM
I don't see anyone on he saying that the teachers should be fired for asking for a raise, I see people on here saying the teachers should be fire if the walk out on the students in the middle of a semester after being offered guaranteed pay rates with pay increases for three years in a community that has experienced the wort economic conditions in the lifetimes of the taxpayers, many of whom have lost jobs, suffered significant cuts in pay and benefits, seen property values take a huge hit while property taxes have increased, and had their homes or their neighbors' homes foreclosed.
Jack November 10, 2012 at 07:55 PM
"You won't find several things in private schools which you will find in public schools. Large class sizes, no consequences for unacceptable behavior, uninvolved parents, and cuts to activities and programs are not things which you will commonly find in private schools." http://www.privateschoolreview.com/articles/category/why-private-school.php


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