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Talks attempt to avert Geneva teacher strike

Monday, November 12, 2012

Last minute contract talks went on all day Sunday in west suburban Geneva in an effort to avoid a teachers strike set for Monday.

Both sides were in negotiations Sunday since 4 p.m. and a union leader in the talks said progress is being made and she is optimistic.

Despite the optimism, the school district and families are preparing for the worst.

It's college application time for senior Mike O'Neil. Despite a possible teachers strike, he is prepared in case he is home for a few days.

"They told us they'd be working all weekend and I got a bunch of my stuff in before so I'm not too worried about it," he said.

Geneva District 304 teachers are threatening to walk off the job on Monday.

The main sticking point is salary. The union has a agreed to a pay freeze the first year of a three-year contract, as long as there are raises in years two and three.

There are quite a few families supporting the teachers, including the O'Neils.

"You get qualified teachers by paying them more than their comparable districts," Tim O'Neil said.

The latest offer the school board is offering 1.95 percent raise the second year and a 2.75 percent in the final year of the contract.

While kids are hoping for a day off school Monday, many parents are hopeful that both sides will reach an agreement.

"I am a principal and a longtime educator, so I certainly sympathize," said parent Jeff Brag. "I also know it's a hard time as far as economics go."

If there is a strike called, the school district is expected to notify families by 5:30 a.m.

It looks as though as of late Sunday night there is some reason for optimism as the school union leader did say there has been some movement.

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