Geneva teachers could go on strike as soon as Oct. 31

 
 
Updated 10/3/2018 6:27 PM
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Geneva Unit District 304 teachers have authorized their union leaders to call a strike and want the district to post its most recent contract offer publicly.

"We know the district has the financial ability to pay our teachers wages that are competitive with other districts of our caliber," Kevin Gannon, president of the Geneva Education Association, said in a news release.

Geneva school board President Mark Grosso declined to respond to that statement, saying he would wait until a board offer was made public. He said the board is "respecting the confidentiality of the mediation process" and would not make public any offers right now.

The teachers union took the strike vote Sunday. The earliest a walkout could happen is Oct. 31.

Contract talks began Feb. 15.

The union represents 459 teachers and other certified personnel, such as school librarians and social workers.

The call for public posting is governed by a state law, in which both sides will have to send their offers to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. If a tentative agreement has not been reached in 14 days, the labor board will post both offers on its website.

Under the board's proposals, Gannon said, "Geneva teachers will continue to lag behind nearby districts in salaries and the gap will continue to grow. We do not want to keep losing our newer colleagues to neighboring districts."

In the Batavia school district, beginning teachers with a bachelor's degree and no graduate-school coursework are paid $41,923 a year. In the St. Charles district, such a teacher starts at $43,753.

In Geneva, the starting annual salary in the 2017 school year was $40,589.

The teachers have been working without a contract since August, when a three-year deal expired.

In 2012, the teachers union was set to go on strike in November, but reached a tentative agreement the day before.

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