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Strike ON: Medford Teachers Walk

MedfordTeacherPicketPreStrike.jpg
Medford Education Association
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Medford teachers walked off the job today (Thursday, February 6), after a deadline for reaching a deal on a new teacher contract passed.

The teachers' union and Medford School District reps met for hours yesterday and overnight without agreeing on contract terms.

School Superintendent Phil Long describes the two sides as "millions of dollars apart."  Pay is just one issue in the dispute; benefits and working conditions are also issues.

Medford schools will be closed today, tomorrow and possibly Monday as well.

If teachers are still on strike Tuesday, the district plans to reopen schools with substitute teachers and a radically different schedule.

A half-dozen elementary schools and both middle schools would stay closed, with the open schools hosting their own classes and those of one other school, in separate morning and afternoon sessions.

No plans for returning to contract negotiating have been announced.

Geoffrey Riley is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has hosted the Jefferson Exchange on JPR since 2009. He's been a broadcaster in the Rogue Valley for more than 35 years, working in both television and radio.