Click here to read a synopsis of the candidates running for Geneva School Board. The synopsis of each candidate is a compilation of responses given at the two candidate forums and in print and online media coverage.
At the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) meeting on January 24th, the ISBE approved adjusted performance level cut scores for the Illinois Standard Achievement Test (ISAT). Effective for this year's ISAT assessment, the new cut scores raise proficiency levels in reading 13 to 17 points, and 21 to 30 points in math. This change links to Goal 1 of the State Board's Strategic Plan: Every student will demonstrate academic achievement and be prepared for success after high school. Learn more about the potential impact of these changes.
The Geneva Education Association (GEA) today filed an unfair labor practice charge against Geneva Community Unit District 304, alleging the school board sent a threat directly to teachers in an illegal attempt to coerce/intimidate them from their plans to engage in a lawful strike.
The dispute arose Wednesday when teachers received letters from the school board claiming that staff members would be responsible for their full health and dental insurance premiums for every day during a work stoppage, among other items.
According to GEA officials, the school board's letter also addressed items other than insurance that remain undecided because they are part of a continuing negotiations process. Further, the letter represented an attempt to coerce and intimidate teachers into not exercising their lawful rights.
"We remain committed to getting this dispute settled fairly," said GEA President Carol Young. "But we won't stand idly by as the school board behaves in an intimidating manner toward our members."
Young said the GEA is also investigating the potential of filing additional charges of bargaining in bad faith against the school board.
The charge filed today, she said, was sent to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, the state agency responsible for enforcing educational labor relations laws and regulations in Illinois.
Friends, Parents and Neighbors:
We are the professional teachers of Geneva. We work exceptionally hard every working day to make sure we deliver the finest quality education possible to the children and students of our community. As partners with you, and with dedication to our profession, we've been successful together in creating a very high quality school district in which students can learn well, succeed and prepare for bright futures in the nation's finest colleges and universities and in the world of work.
We are proud of our efforts and of yours. We are proud of our schools.
As teachers and citizens, we acknowledge and are sensitive to the financial challenges of our schools and community. So, for our part, we have proposed a salary freeze in the first year and the most modest raises in the history of our school district. Our offer would not result in new taxes and still would allow the school board to rebate a portion of current revenues to taxpayers.
Our concern goes well beyond this school year. But the school board is asking for deep cuts that are unfair, unnecessary and destructive to the kind of quality school district that you've rightly come to expect now and in the future. The harsh nature of the school board's proposals will not maintain the competitive compensation and working conditions that attract and retain the kind of quality professionals that Geneva students deserve.
In short, what we ask for is fairness – the kind of fairness that supports and builds a quality school district that maintains its mission and values over time.
We know how troubling these last few weeks have been for you, as parents and citizens. Please be assured that they have been equally distressing for us, as teachers who care about our students, our community and our profession. None of us likes this one bit.
The fact that our professional contract remains unsettled is putting a strain on the entire community. Coupled with the unfair and uninformed assertion of a few that teachers are being greedy or uncaring, we, too, feel the tension and it is deeply disturbing.
We want you to know that our negotiations team is available at any moment's notice to get together with the school board and pursue a negotiations process that will lead to a fair resolution. It's not too late for fairness. It's not too late to de-escalate tension and resolve differences.
It's our commitment to do our best. It is our hope that the school board will come to the negotiations table with an equal commitment to compromise and resolution.
Teacher-members of the Geneva Education Association
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"Although we have authorized a strike, it is the last thing the Geneva teachers want to do," said Carol Young, president of the Geneva Education Association.
Association members took the vote in response to the inability of the school board to reach a fair agreement after nine months of negotiations.
"We have been working without a contract since August 15th and have taken this vote because of the school board's failure to offer a fair and equitable agreement that will attract and retain quality teachers," said Young.
The association is committed to reaching a settlement with the school board. The negotiating team will be meeting with the Board of Education team on October 23 and will continue to press for progress in contract negotiations.
A strike date has not yet been set. For more information contact Carol Young at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President of the Geneva Education Association