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Federal mediator sits in on negotiations in District 304

Published: Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012 7:37 a.m. CDT

GENEVA – Geneva School District 304 continues to plan for a strike after an eight-hour negotiating session with the Geneva Education Association on Tuesday did not resolve the contract dispute.

According to a news release from the school board, a federal mediator participated in Tuesday’s negotiations. Proposals were exchanged, and both parties agreed to meet today.

“We had some positive discussions, but unfortunately we did not come to a settlement,” GEA President Carol Young said Wednesday in an email. “We are hopeful that [today’s] meeting will have better results.”

Reached by phone Wednesday, board President Mark Grosso said the traded proposals will be discussed today. He had no other comments about Tuesday’s session.

The GEA filed an intent to strike notice over salaries and compensation last month. The earliest teachers legally could walk out is Friday.

“The board remains committed to negotiating an agreement that is good for students, fair to teachers and fiscally responsible,” the board’s release stated. “However, because of the strike notice that the GEA presented to the board on Oct. 26, 2012, the board and district administration continue to plan for a potential strike.”

Wednesday, the district sent a notice to parents and guardians about its plans in the event of a strike. While students won’t be required to attend school during a strike, district personnel would supervise age-appropriate activities in each elementary school, Geneva Middle School South and Geneva High School.

• Activities at the elementary level will vary by school. They could include math games, computer lab activities, presentations from community agencies, writing/journaling, reading time, physical education, arts and crafts and workshops.

• The middle school will feature presentations from community agencies, team-building activities, interactive games, physical education activities, play math, strategy and word games, and art projects.

• At the high school, the fitness center, gymnasiums, library and computer lab would be open. Classrooms will be available for reading. Other activities also were being developed.

Parents intending to send their children to school during a strike should call 630-463-3088 as soon as possible. They should spell their child’s name and indicate their grade and school. Parents should call that number and provide the same information if their plans have changed.

In the event of a strike, the district will notify families by the emergency notification system, 304Connects, media and its website, www.geneva304.org. Updates on the negotiations process and strike planning are available at www.geneva304.org/negotiations.asp.

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