No school Monday in Geneva as negotiations between teachers, school board continue

 
Daily Herald report
Updated 12/10/2018 6:33 AM
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  • Geneva teachers picket Wednesday outside Geneva Community High School on the second day of their strike.

      Geneva teachers picket Wednesday outside Geneva Community High School on the second day of their strike. Rick West | Staff Photographer

Contract negotiations between the Geneva Education Association and the District 304 school board continued late Sunday, but the district has already declared no school on Monday, the fifth day of a teachers strike.

The parties met at 3 p.m. after a rally outside the district's headquarters. As of 11 p.m., they were still at the bargaining table with no updates available, union spokeswoman Bridget Shanahan said.

And District 304 posted on its website, "No school on Monday, Dec. 10 -- more info forthcoming." Monday night's school board meeting was postponed as well.

Teachers have been on strike since Tuesday, canceling classes and extracurricular activities for the district's nearly 6,000 students. Negotiations progressed Friday, with the union making some concessions, union officials said, but no tentative agreement was reached.

The union's latest offer calls for accepting parts of the board's Dec. 4 proposal for salaries for the first two years of a four-year contract. That proposal increased the base starting salary by $1,900, and almost all the other teachers on the salary schedule would get the $1,900 plus a 1.6 percent increase, according to Shanahan. In the second year the starting salary would increase by $1,800; almost all the others would go up by 1.6 percent plus the $1,800.

In the third year of the contract, the union proposes increasing the pay for a starting teacher with just a bachelor's degree by 2.5 percent. That base pay would increase 1 percent in year four.

Base pay for teachers with 22 years of experience and a doctorate or double master's degrees would receive a 1.35 percent raise in year 3 and a 1 percent raise in year 4.

The union also wants the district to increase the percentage of the health-insurance premium it pays for dependent coverage, from the current 60 percent to 62 percent in the second year, 65 percent in the third year and 68 percent in the fourth year. It wants pay for summer school teaching increased to $45 per hour.

An online petition being circulated by the Geneva Education Association, which urges the school board to accept the union's proposal, received more than 2,200 signatures as of Sunday night.

The school board did not publicize its offers from Friday night, but released a statement Saturday morning saying both parties "presented a new salary model they believed represented a compromise in that it was a combination of the models each side promoted. The Board's proposal blends the models of both sides and provides higher salaries for more experienced teachers in response to the interests of the union, while maintaining higher starting salaries for beginning teachers."

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