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Teacher strike avoided in District 304

GENEVA – A teacher strike has been averted in Geneva.

After meeting for more than eight hours, starting Sunday afternoon, the Geneva Education Association and the Geneva Board of Education reached a tentative agreement at 12:30 a.m. Monday on a new contract, according to a news release signed by school board President Mark Grosso and GEA President Carol Young.

Tom Rogers, principal at Geneva High School, said he received notification of the strike avoidance at 12:40 a.m.

"I saw the notification in the middle of the night and was very relieved," he said. "We're thrilled to be here."

Michael Chahino, whose son and daughter are both freshmen in high school, said his family had made plans for Monday in case school was not in session. He said his wife, who works part-time, had planned to stay home with their children.

Chahino said he was glad school was back in session Monday, and he said he was against the impending strike.

"We definitely were against it ... because with the status quo of the economy, we looked at the union as greedy," he said.

While parents and school administrators were happy about the strike avoidance, not all students were. Sisters Mary Clare Novak, a sophomore at Geneva High School, and Olivia Novak, a junior, said they were prepared to take the day off to watch movies and take a trip into Chicago.

"Our only reaction was us freaking out about going to school," Mary Clare said.

Rogers said while many students were probably looking forward to sleeping in Monday, he felt most people were relieved.

"There's a little more energy here," he said. "It would have been difficult for everyone."

The agreement will be presented to members of the GEA on Tuesday. A ratification vote will be taken on Wednesday.

After that, the school board will vote on the agreement. A date for the special board meeting has not been set.

"With this tentative agreement, school will be in session on Monday, Nov. 12," the release stated.

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