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Medford School Talks Set For Weekend

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Teachers continue to walk picket lines in the Medford school district, as the first teacher strike in the district's history continues.

The district plans for schools to reopen on Tuesday with replacements, while both sides planned to meet with a state mediator over the weekend.

The strike began Thursday morning, when a 6 AM strike deadline imposed by the Medford Education Association, the teachers' union, arrived without a contract agreement.

The two sides traded offers and counter-offers for months, through a mediator in the final hours.

Both report being far apart on key contract issues, including salaries, benefits, and working conditions.

The district plans to open schools on Tuesday morning with replacement teachers hired just for the strike.  Several elementary schools and both middle schools would remain closed; their classes would meet in other school buildings, with most schools running split morning and afternoon shifts.

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.