GENEVA – Geneva School District 304 officials have accused the teachers union of going through the motions of bargaining while planning to have teachers walk out – a charge the union denies.
In a prepared statement released today from school board president Mark Grosso, the Geneva Education Association filed its 10-day strike notice at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Kane County Regional Education Office, yet continued in a negotiating session for another five hours before delivering the notice to district officials.
"It is apparent that, while the board has been diligently working since February to achieve an agreement that is good for students, fair to teachers, and fiscally responsible, the union is intent in having the district’s teachers walk off the job in an effort to shut down our schools,” Grosso said in the statement.
Teacher union president Carol Young disputed the district's characterization.
"We knew we were intending to file an intent to strike on Friday if we did not reach a settlement," Young said. "There was a 5 p.m. deadline for the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board and 4:30 p.m. for the regional office of education. Our feeling was we needed to get it in before the end of the day. "
Young said the union was interested in settling the contract that night, and would have canceled the strike notice if the contract had been settled.
"We were hoping it would be a moot point, that we would settle and it would not go any further," Young said. "We would call them and say 'Nope, don't need it.' We were ... interested in a settlement Friday night."
The earliest teachers could strike is Nov. 9.