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Local

Geneva teachers ratchet up pressure for new contract

GEA could walk out Nov. 13

Geneva Education Association President Kevin Gannon high fives with marchers during a rally Oct. 23 at Coultrap Educational Services Center before a contract negotiation session for teachers in Community Unit School District 304. The union and community members plan to picket the next Geneva District 304 school board meeting Nov. 12. Teachers could go on strike as early as Nov. 13.
Geneva Education Association President Kevin Gannon high fives with marchers during a rally Oct. 23 at Coultrap Educational Services Center before a contract negotiation session for teachers in Community Unit School District 304. The union and community members plan to picket the next Geneva District 304 school board meeting Nov. 12. Teachers could go on strike as early as Nov. 13.

GENEVA — Members of the Geneva Education Association and community members will picket ahead at 6:30 p.m., ahead of the Nov. 12 Geneva District 304 board meeting, at Geneva Middle School South, 1415 Viking Drive, Geneva, union officials announced in a news release.

Union members and parents plan to address the board during public comment, and are asking the board to hear their concerns in full, the release stated.

Members authorized a strike last month, and the earliest date teachers could walk out is Nov. 13.

“What happens at the bargaining table doesn’t just affect our educators,” GEA President Kevin Gannon stated in the release. “The whole community is impacted. Their voices should be heard and the meeting will provide a great opportunity for the board to hear from our community.”

The school board has limited public comment in previous meetings, the release stated.

Should the school board limit public comments at its meeting, the teachers union will hold its own public comment outside of the board meeting to allow all community members a chance to speak.

“Our members have been out canvassing before and after school and on weekends to meet with their neighbors and Geneva parents and hear their concerns,” Gannon stated in the release. “We have over a thousand signatures and comments of support from the community. The meeting on Monday will allow our board to hear these concerns for themselves.”

The GEA represents 459 teachers in nine schools and serves the district’s 5,800 students.

GEA members have been out canvassing the community and have collected over 1,000 signatures from district residents in support of a step and lane salary schedule for teachers.

Annual pay increases for teachers are steps. A teacher changes lanes and receives a higher salary as he or she reaches higher levels of education, such as a master's degree.

In its last published offer, the district offered a flat increase of $2,050 for all teachers, stating that teacher pay increases should reflect pay increases received by the community members and the general state of the economy.

GEA members will present the full petition to the board on Monday. 

The next mediation session with the district is scheduled for 4 p.m. Nov. 26.

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