Talks began Monday night to try and desperately avoid a teachers' strike in Geneva.
The union says a strike impacting 5,800 students is the last resort.
“We want you to show up to a classroom full of students and we want to make sure that you never give up on helping them to pursue their dreams. We are going to fight tonight,” said teacher union president Kevin Gannon.
This is the last bargaining session between the Geneva Education Association, which represents 459 teachers, and the Geneva School District 304. They have been in talks since February and the teachers have been working without a contract since August.
The two groups are trying to agree on pay for the new contract. The district is offering a 17 percent salary increase for new teachers and a 1.2 percent increase for veteran teachers that would be over four years.
This would replace the standard step and lane salaries, which increase a teachers pay based on experience and education. The union wants more reasonable salary increases for all teachers, which they say would help retain quality educators.
“If we are not able to keep great teachers in here then what's going to happen is people are going to start leaving and they are going to go to other communities where the education system is stronger,” said English teacher Jason Santo.
“Most of all we are fighting for what's right. We are not being greedy here, we are just asking to get to the average of Kane County and I’m still heartbroken because I love teaching here, but I want to be able to support my family too,” said English teacher Jordan Brewner.
If the two sides cannot reach an agreement, school and most activities will be cancelled Tuesday. Parents will receive notice via email or phone.