MEDFORD, Ore. — The Medford School District has taken the next step in the long contract negotiations with teachers.
On Friday, the school board voted unanimously to put their final offer into effect starting next week, but teachers still haven’t signed it, and the Medford Education Association President says she’d sooner go on strike than agree to those terms.
Teachers say Friday’s implementation vote is generally considered a sign that good faith negotiations have been given up entirely. Aside from some of the nitpicky language, these terms are take it or leave it.
The school board says every cent they have is being put on the table, but teachers consider it an unfair offer. They also say the district has been unwilling to meet them in the middle, but they’re doing their best to leave these disagreements outside the classroom.
“Teachers are going to do their jobs each and every day in the classrooms. None of this is going to make a difference in that because when you get in the room with your kids that’s what matters. And that’s what we’re fighting so hard for,” said Cheryl Lashley, President of the Medford Education Association.
This latest school board offer would into effect next Thursday, but teachers say it won’t be considered a ratified contract until they sign it and in all likelihood, that won’t happen.
Which means staff would likely strike when students return in January. If that’s the case, students will continue to have class only if the district can find enough substitutes.