State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) | https://ivesforillinois.com/meet_jeanne/
State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R- Wheaton) said the Geneva school board keeping mum about the new teacher contract that ended a recent strike was likely a strong indication the agreement favors the teachers rather than taxpayers. The board approved the contract this morning.
“I suspect the union got more of what they wanted than what the school district wanted,” Ives said in a telephone interview with the DuPage Policy Journal. “Taxes are definitely going to go up in Geneva. I’m sure of that.”
Mark Grosso, Geneva District 304 board president, sparked a controversy earlier this week when he refused to reveal the terms of the board’s latest contract with the Geneva Education Association. According to the Kane County Reporter, Grosso cited a confidentiality agreement with the union and said the contract would be released publicly only after the school board voted on it.
“The biggest problem here is that he [wouldn't] disclose this information because the union [wouldn't] let him,” Ives said. “The unions [didn't] want the taxpayers to know about the deal before the school board has voted on it.”
Keeping the taxpayers in the dark may have prevented them from “connecting the dots,” Ives said, when it comes to seeing the impact of teacher pay on property taxes. The argument that the district must pay well to attract the best teachers doesn’t ring true, Ives said.
“These folks (teachers) have very rich salaries and benefits compared to the private sector, especially given the amount of time they are on the job every year,” Ives said.
In the bill she has introduced each of her six years representing District 42, Ives has pushed for transparency by calling for a public hearing before the union ratifies a new contract and before the school board approves it.
“Everybody has a right to know,” she said. “It can be in conjunction with a regular board meeting, but you must have a public hearing on the contract. That got completely shut down in Springfield.”