To the editor:
How should Geneva District 304's administration and school board heal wounds and move on after a divisive teacher strike and the school board election that followed soon after? Surely the best way forward, for the good of students, parents, teachers, the administration, and the board, is to look forward, not back.
The teachers returned to work and the students to school on December 11. The school board election took place on April 2. Two Geneva Education Association endorsed candidates were elected to the board; one was not. Shortly thereafter, on April 22nd and April 24 upon the recommendation of Superintendent Kent Mutchler's administration, the school board issued "Notice to Remedy" reprimands to four Geneva teachers for "prohibited political activities" as the Chronicle's headline put it.
Would this "form of discipline," as School Board President Mark Grosso described it, have been meted out to the teachers had the GEA endorsed candidates lost? The board's actions smack of sour grapes and vindictiveness. They look backward, when the administration and board should be looking forward.
Geneva schools have a wonderful reputation, one that attracts families to the district. Going forward, as teacher vacancies occur in Geneva schools, keeping that hard earned reputation will depend on recruiting the very best teachers. Surely the worst way to attract the best teachers to Geneva is to discipline the excellent current ones. Teachers perform at their best when they are supported, respected and appreciated by their students, by parents, by the superintendent and school board. Disciplining these four teachers sent the exact opposite message to them and to their colleagues: "we don't support you, we don't respect you, we don't appreciate you."
Lead, Superintendent Mutchler and Geneva School Board, lead.