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Classes Resume at Geneva Schools After Teachers’ Strike Ends

Classes resumed at Geneva schools Tuesday after the teachers union and school board came to an agreement over a new contract following a week-long strike.

The deal was reached in the early morning hours Monday after more than 12 hours at the bargaining table, the Geneva Education Association said in a statement announcing the union's support for the agreement.

The proposed agreement was brought to the full union for a vote and passed Monday night. The District 304 board still has to vote to approve the contract, and was scheduled to do so on Thursday. 

The contract is a five-year deal that will mean the 465 teachers in the district will receive better pay - the sticking point that led educators to hit the picket line.

Teachers had been on strike since Tuesday, announcing their walkout in the middle of the night after contract negotiations stalled. Working without a contract since August, the district's teachers said they were paid far less than colleagues in neighboring districts and could barely make ends meet.

The strike impacted roughly 5,800 students at nine schools in the district, canceling classes for five days.

Central to negotiations was the issue of salary increases for new teachers versus veteran teachers. The union had previously rejected a proposal from the school board that included a "$5.3 million, or a 17% increase, in new money for teacher compensation over the life of the proposed four-year contract," the district's website said.

The GEA claimed that proposal was rejected because it gave a bigger raise to newer teachers and a smaller increase to the more experienced ones at the top of the pay scale.

The newly-approved deal is a "compromise," the GEA said in a statement Monday night.

"It will include both the traditional step and lane salary schedule that compensates teachers based on education and experience and also includes the boards’ hybrid salary schedule," the GEA said, adding that teachers with advanced degrees will be compensated for those degrees.

Classes resumed Tuesday and while students missed five days of school, they will only have to make up one at the end of the school year.

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