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District Plans for Potential Strike

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MEDFORD Ore. — A regular, public school board meeting went on for about ten minutes at the school district office Wednesday morning. Afterward, an executive session was called after the board declared a state of emergency, and district officials are bracing — deal or no deal.

“We’ve been staffing up, we are putting together a call center to do all of the contacting and hiring of substitutes– the background checks, all that type of stuff,” said Medford Schools Superintendent Phil Long.

Substitutes need to be hired, and Superintendent Long said they have already received some calls.

“We’ve had a number of people contact us interested in either substitute teaching or helping in other ways and we are certainly collecting that information, we’re not quite at the point where we’re hiring today,” said Superintendent Long.

The state of emergency declared Wednesday means spending to operate schools during the strike has been authorized as well as continues executive session with the school board. Other plans have been made and Superintendent Long said if the strike were to go in effect, the district would call off school for at least one day, to make final preparations.

“If a strike were to occur, it’s very likely we would be closed for two or three days to make sure that we can do the set-up, have the appropriate staff online, to have our security set-up,” said Superintendent Long.

Parents are encouraged to keep up-to date contact information with the district so arrangements are consolidation of schools can be communicated out.

“We won’t be blending schools together, but we will be blending some sites, and it looks like at this point, running some double shifts,”

The Medford Education Association released a statement Wednesday saying no progress was made during Tuesday’s bargaining session and that the district needs to be more willing to negotiate. One final session with state mediators is scheduled a week from today on February 5th, however the two sides may meet on their own before then.