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Geneva D-304 makes new offer to teachers union

Proposal includes $2.5 million in wage increases for all teachers

GENEVA – Geneva School District 304 officials delivered a new proposal to the teachers union Oct. 10 for their consideration, the district announced in a news release.

The new proposal comes just days after union members voted to authorize a strike for the 459 district teachers, which could begin as early as October 31.

GEA president Kevin Gannon disputed the district’s position in an email response and that the Illinois Education Association plans to submit its most recent offer to the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board.

“The board is not being forthcoming,” Gannon's email stated.

“The offer they submitted to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board and sent out to parents was not the last offer provided to the Geneva Education Association bargaining team," Gannon's email stated. "We’ve done the math. The district has the money to meet our requests without laying off teachers and without cutting programs. We are the lowest compensated teachers in all of Kane County, and the board’s offer does not change that. GEA teachers are delaying starting families, donating plasma and working extra jobs just to make ends meet. Our students deserve more. Our community deserves more. Our teachers deserve a fair wage.”

The board’s most recent offer to the GEA provides that during each year of the proposed three-year contract, every teacher will receive a salary increase of $1,800 –an aggregate increase of 7.8 percent or nearly $2.5 million over the life of the contract, according to the district’s release.

Further, any teacher who successfully completes graduate level professional development will receive an additional 3 percent increase — with no limit on the number of eligible teachers, the release stated.

The board views these proposed salary increases as part of the “total compensation” paid to teachers, which includes approximately $4.6 million paid on behalf of teachers and their dependents for health, medical, dental and life insurance, the release stated.

To avoid new penalties imposed by the Illinois Teacher Retirement System for retirement incentives beyond those allowed by the state system, the board also has proposed to reduce the cap on end-of-career salary increases to 3 percent from 6 percent, the release stated.

Despite anticipated rising costs of these benefits, the district is proposing no changes to the cost-sharing arrangements detailed in its most recent contract with the union, the release stated.

“The board strongly believes in and respects our teachers. We want to compensate them fairly and competitively for their work, while operating within the financial means of the district,” the release stated.

“We take seriously our responsibility to be thoughtful and deliberate in developing a compensation and benefits package that meets the needs of our teachers and our community,” the release stated.

“In particular, we have set as a goal the desire to achieve a more competitive starting salary that allows us to effectively identify, attract and retain high-quality teachers, while also reasonably and fairly recognizing the educational attainment and experience of our current teachers,” according to the release.

Contract talks began on Feb.15, and teachers started the school year without a contract, according to a release from the Geneva Education Association..

The last four negotiations have been aided by a mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, according to the release.

“From the very beginning of these negotiations, our association has maintained a commitment to reach an agreement that puts the district’s 5,800 students first; promotes a high quality education; is fair for the teachers; and is fiscally responsible to the community of Geneva,” Gannon had stated in the release.

“We have been working to find common ground with the school board. We know the district has the financial ability to pay our teachers wages that are competitive with other districts of our caliber,” Gannon stated.

The offer is available for viewing on the district’s website, and the also was submitted to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board for public posting, the release stated.

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