Raises coming for Geneva teachers as part of new contract
Geneva Unit District 304 teachers will receive raises in each of the five years of a new contract expected to be approved by the school board Friday.
Kevin Gannon, the teachers union president, acknowledged the contract calls for raises in each of the five years but wouldn't give specifics.
The school board will meet at 8 a.m. Friday to vote on the new contract that was ratified by the teachers Monday after a strike that began Dec. 4 and kept the district's 6,000 students and 460 teachers out of classrooms for five days. Sports and other extracurricular activities were canceled during the strike.
Everyone returned to school Tuesday.
District officials have not disclosed the cost of the proposed contract.
"I'd be happy to comment more after the board takes action on Friday," school board President Mark Grosso said by phone Wednesday.
Gannon said students will make up one of the strike days, though he did not say when that would happen and school officials gave no confirmation. An extra day could be added to the end of the school year, or a previously scheduled day off could be canceled.
Superintendent Kent Mutchler did not return calls seeking comment.
The school district has announced high school first-semester finals will be pushed back to January.
Both sides agreed to the contract after protracted talks that ended after 3 a.m. Sunday. At least six board members were present when the deal was struck, Gannon said.
Grosso said that at various points throughout the negotiations all members of the board participated in the process. Because of that, he does not expect much debate among board members before Friday's vote.
Teachers ratified the contract Monday after meeting for nearly two hours to learn about and discuss the proposal, Gannon said. Passage required at least two-thirds of the teachers present.
Not much is expected to change in the language agreed to by the negotiating team and what the teachers approved Monday. Grosso said lawyers from both sides were still "working on word-smithing" the contract before it was finalized.
Teachers were initially seeking a four-year contract. It's unclear which side sought the additional year, though longer contracts seem to favor administrators because personnel costs -- the most expensive part of a budget -- are locked in for a longer period, making the budgeting process easier.
Gannon said most of the union's initial offers were for three-year or four-year contracts.