Closer Look: The stories of the year
GENEVA – This was a year of unrest for Geneva District 304 teachers as they went back to school in August without a new contract in place.
Tensions rose through the summer and fall as teachers came to school board meetings clad in green T-shirts showing solidarity. At issue was the school board offering a hard freeze on salaries the first year, the same as other district employees.
Some community members pushed back, saying they could not afford raises for teachers when they were also suffering financially.
The Geneva Education Association sought mediation, then declared an impasse, took a strike authorization vote and then voted to strike – for the first time in the district's history. But a walkout was averted by a last-minute settlement of a three-year contract.
Tensions are still simmering though, as the teachers union filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the district, then refused to withdraw it after the contract was ratified. District officials, in turn, filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the GEA because the union refused to withdraw their complaint. Both complaints are still pending.
Enrollment numbers in District 304
GENEVA – As a taxpayer watchdog group, TaxFACTS focused on Geneva District 304, members discovered a discrepancy in the projected enrollment numbers in the district's 2007 referendum material, and the actual projections given by a demographer.
One of the demographer's projections shows an increase of 345 students from 2007 to 2012 as the most likely increase. Another calculation showed 888 as the highest possible increase for that same time period. The district claimed in its referendum material an increase of 1,618 students over that time period.
In materials presented to the public in the spring of 2007, the projected enrollment for 2011-12 school year was 7,276. The district's projections for the 2007-08 school year was 6,145, higher than the demographer's 5,949.
By a hundred-vote margin, voters approved an $80 million referendum to build two new elementary schools, one a replacement for Coultrap.
School officials admitted the enrollment projections were inflated, but no one knew how it happened. Still, officials maintained there was "nothing deceptive or unlawful" in the referendum campaign. Board president Mark Grosso said too much time had passed for a full blown investigation into how the inflated numbers came about.
With the additional bond, the principal on the district's debt is $155.6 million and the interest is $150.4 million, or $306 million, according to a presentation by the district's financial advisor this summer.
If you have any technical difficulties, either with your username and password or with the payment options, please contact us by e-mail at email@example.com