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State

Union: Geneva teachers set to strike Monday

(MCT) GENEVA, Ill. — Although Geneva teachers’ union officials said Friday morning they planned to strike Monday, the two sides are planning a Sunday evening negotiation session as a last-ditch effort to reach a deal and avoid a strike.

District 304 School Board President Mark Grosso and union president Carol Young said they scheduled the weekend meeting after Young announced teachers would strike. Originally, the two sides planned a Tuesday evening session after 10 hours of negotiations on Thursday failed to bring an agreement.

“If we don’t get it done on Sunday, we will probably still meet on Tuesday,” Young said, adding that in that scenario, teachers will be prepared to walk off the job Monday morning and picket at all district buildings.

The far west suburban district has been planning for a strike since teachers filed their intent to strike notice two weeks ago. School buildings will remain open if there is a strike with non-union staff and substitute teachers, but students will not be required to attend. Activities will include journaling, gym time, crafts and other “age appropriate activities,” according to the district’s website, where more information was available.

The main sticking point in negotiations has been salaries, although Young said Friday teachers agreed to one year of a pay freeze. The two sides have yet to come to an agreement on subsequent  years of pay, she said.

The district’s latest offer to the teachers was expected to be available at geneva304.org Friday.

At Friday morning's Veterans Day ceremony at Geneva Middle School North, parents could be overhead discussing their relief that a teachers strike didn't disrupt the ceremony, which included more than 70 visiting military veterans.

Freelance reporter Alexa Aguilar contributed.

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©2012 the Chicago Tribune

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