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Superintendent Responds to Strike

Phil Long to step down

MEDFORD, Ore. — Medford Superintendent Dr. Phil Long said he is confident an agreement will be reached between the district and teachers before February 6.

He said the district is interested in resolving the contract, but each side is going to have to make sacrifices in the process.

“These are really hard choices, and I think in it we’re going to end up in an agreement that both parties are not going to be 100 percent satisfied with,” said Dr. Long. “That’s what we are going to need to do to get this resolved.”

Dr. Long said this week the district will start planning for what to do if the strike does happen.  Over the next couple of days, district members will be meeting in various groups to plan all of the things that need to be done… should the teachers walk out on February 6.

Extracurricular activities are one of the unresolved issues, but a plan will also be made surrounding those in the coming week.

“We have prided ourselves on having teachers in coaching positions, but coaching positions are extra compensation, and if you’re not doing your primary job, you’re not doing your extra composition, so we are in a little bit of a quandary on how to navigate this so it doesn’t impact kids adversely, “said Dr. Long

Dr. Long promised that parents will be kept updated throughout the process and will know what the district’s intent is by the strike date.

The Medford School District also said substitute teachers have been receiving threatening phone calls from representatives working with the teacher’s association.  Dr. Long did not disclose what those calls entailed, but one teacher making the calls told NewsWatch 12 the calls were not threatening.  They were just checking with substitutes to see if they had been contacted by the district, and if they were backing the teachers in the strike.

Dr. Long said kids will remain the number one priority of the school district throughout the process.   The district does plan on meeting with the MEA later this week, but no official date has been set.