To the Editor:
I recently wrote a letter to the superintendent and school board of Geneva School District 304 concerning the declared impasse in negotiations between the board and Geneva Education Association. Being too long for most newspapers, here are some excerpts:
I am worried about the potential for the school board members to miss this last chance to show they understand the importance of strong schools with teachers who are compensated fairly for the important work they do.
Economic difficulties should not filter down to schools for the sake of saving money elsewhere. We need our schools to stay strong; our teachers have proven they are strong, leading to strong student performance – why make a decision that will weaken our schools?
Negotiations are difficult because the end result pleases no party 100 percent. However, doing what is best for students should not be that difficult.
I have paid taxes to help fund the school district since before having children and will continue doing so when they are grown up and paying taxes of their own, wherever they end up living. I take great pride in being able to do that in a community that values education and values students. Yes, it’s an expense, but it is an investment in our future.
I now direct the rest of my message toward others who live within the Geneva School District:
Please speak up, whether you agree or disagree with my thoughts in the above letter. Please don’t let the school board make a decision without really knowing your wishes. Please remind them that their decision will affect our community. Teachers are super, but they’re not supermen and superwomen. They need support, time, collaboration and compensation for the professional work they do. Our schools are the places where the community’s, the country’s, the world’s future leaders, doctors, artists, inventors, and (yes) teachers are learning and developing.
Let’s help keep our schools strong. I chose to place “We (heart) Geneva Teachers” signs in my yard to show my support. You can do the same and find out more by going to www.gea4students.org and clicking on the “Help Now” link.
Heidi Gibbons Geneva