State posts contract offers in Geneva teacher talks

 
 
Updated 10/30/2018 1:40 PM
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Contract offers from the Geneva school district and the Geneva Education Association are now available on the website of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board.

They can be found under the "public postings -- offers" section of illinois.gov/elrb.

The two sides are resuming negotiations Tuesday, with the threat of a possible strike looming in mid-November.

The union represents teachers, social workers, librarians and psychologists.

The two sides have been working with a mediator. The union initiated the call-for-public-posting in early October.

Neither side posted sample contracts. And the union did not post a salary schedule grid with specific numbers for all cells. It wants to keep using that format, which it says has been used for almost 50 years, that calculates pay by years of experience ("steps") and graduate-education attainment ("lanes.")

Both offers were submitted to the state Oct. 23, the last time the two sides met.

The union's offer reiterates its position that the district should stop using annual surpluses in its education fund to pay down debt, as it has since 2011, and use the money instead to pay teachers more.

The district is scheduled to make its last debt payment in 2026. The district used money from the education fund to keep the amount of property taxes it collected for debt payment from increasing as much as originally scheduled.

The union suggests raising the salary for a starting teacher with a bachelor's degree and no experience, to $42,953 in the first year, 5.8 percent more than the current starting salary. But it suggests a temporary, 1 percent discount for new hires of such teachers for one year. By the third year of the contract, starting pay would be $44,975.

The school district is offering $42,639 in the first year, rising to $46,739 by the third year. The offer acknowledges that the district's starting pay has lagged behind that of nearby districts in recent years.

The offer also stated the school board believes pay increases should reflect raises community members receive, and that they should also be tied to the overall health of the economy and to the rate of inflation.

Every current teacher would receive a raise of $2,050 a year under the district's offer. Those who have announced retirement four years in advance would receive incentives of 3 percent their last four years. The state used to allow 6 percent bumps those years, but now penalizes districts that offer more than 3 percent.

The union proposes a 6 percent step increase the first year, and increasing the lanes by 5 percent.

In the second year, it calls for increasing each step by 2.5 percent and having all employees move two steps on the schedule. In the third year, it proposes increasing the step 3.5 percent. And it wants those who announce their retirement five years in advance to receive a 5 percent bump that year, followed by 3 percent increases the next four.

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