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Teachers Say Strike Very Likely

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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.

6 comments

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  1. Jon Buckley says:

    The district states that their offer is equal to or greater than what the teachers are asking for. If that is actually the case why doesn’t the district simply make an offer of what the teachers are actually asking for?

    The reason is OSBA. Unlike the relationship of the members of the Medford Education Association and the Oregon Education Association the Medford School District Board of Directors are puppets to the OSBA. MEA and OEA are comprised of the actual teachers who teach our kids. OSBA is made up of……..business people whose goal is to break the backs of under appreciated educators by stepping on them on their way up the ladder.

  2. Joe Couch says:

    It is sad state of affair when our so called teachers strike for more money and don’t care about the students. If they did, they would not run out on them. It is about unions and money, nothing else. Considering the economy, you should be happy to have a job. Strikers should be replaced!

    1. joey says:

      Strikers should be replaced? How many people do you think live within a half hour drive of Medford that A: Have a Master’s degree and B: Want to be subjected to your narrow minded scrutiny on a daily basis? Especially when they can live somewhere better and be treated nicer and paid more.

      These folks can all do better elsewhere, they don’t need to stay in this valley with small minded yet entitled people like you who feel you are owed a discount because you live in a place with very little opportunity for the working class. Your “take it or leave it” attitude, if you haven’t noticed, is driving all of the talented people out of the valley to places like Portland and Seattle which are enjoying an economic boom as young bright and determined people show up in droves to get away from people like you and places like this.

      You need to start treating working folks like teachers, plumbers, cashiers and servers like you want them in the community. When you think people are easily replaced you will find out that the only pool of applicants is far less qualified, and far less interested in your satisfaction. You get what you pay for and if parents value the education of their children you should be happy to pay going rate or better to have the best educators available.

      If you look at the states in the country with the highest public teacher pay and you will find the highest rate of college graduation. If you want to save a buck and get some tweakers off the street to educate your kids, be my guest, but if the city of Medford hires scabs in the school system, I’m packing all my things and getting out of this crazy hole before my children see how working class folks get treated and begin to think it is OK.

      It’s not OK to talk down to teachers. Or bully them. They have worked hard to get where they are and deserve the respect that goes along with all that education and experience.

      1. Drew the former teacher says:

        “Well said, Joey”, replies the former teacher. Finally some reason amidst the chaos of bargaining. Those of us who have left teaching in the past 15 years agree with you and are fed up with tunnel vision statements made by those like Joe Couch.

        1. karen says:

          Oh poor you! (teachers) You retire making more than when you worked, you accumulate sick pay, parents pay for EVERYTHING, sports, supplies, and are badgered into volunteering to help you. You get EVERY holiday, vacation, summer off. Your insurance benefits are OVER the top and guess what? Here’s the US’s world ranking. 14th for Reading, 17th for Science, and 25th in the world for Math. Good job. Leading country in the world and our educators SUCK!! Your ploy is “IT’S FOR THE KIDS.” BS!!!! It’s for YOU! We’re going to end up just like California, BROKE because of state and federal retirements and benefits. WAKE UP PEOPLE. WHO expects to make more in retirement than when they worked? TEACHERS.

  3. Heather says:

    Karen & Joe,

    You obviously do not understand the big picture of what is going on in the public education world. The reason the USA is ranking so low compared to other countries is not due to the teachers. I see teachers EVERY DAY spending week nights till 7pm and weekends at school preparing lesson plans, etc. They would not be doing this if they did not care about their students. The problem with public education starts at the top. Educators are not respected or appreciated like they were 30 years ago. Educate yourself on what is going on with the public education system in the nation. Yes, money is an issue, NOT BECAUSE THE TEACHERS WANT MORE MONEY, but because the top is continuing to take more and more money away from the public education system which is causing states, districts, schools to cut costs and think of money instead of the children. IT IS NOT UP TO THE TEACHERS TO SET UP AND MANAGE THESE BIG BUDGETS. Why don’t you read up on what the Medford Board of Directors is trying to take away from our children right now. What the teachers are fighting for is not predominately money it is ABOUT WHAT IS BEST FOR THE STUDENTS.

    HERE ARE SOME OF THE ITEMS THAT WILL EFFECT OUR CHILDREN:

    1ST – the district wants to INCREASE CLASS SIZES BY 5-7 STUDENTS PER CLASS.

    2ND – they want to remove the protected planning time (prep-time) for teachers to prepare lessons. THIS MEANS THAT TEACHERS CAN BE TAKEN AWAY FROM THEIR ROOM WHEN STUDENTS AREN’T PRESENT FOR ANY REASON, COULD BE MEETING, ETC. AND LEFT WITH NO TIME TO PREPARE LESSONS.

    FROM EXPERIENCE TEACHERS HARDLY HAVE TIME FOR THAT NOW. THE MAJORITY OF THE TEACHERS I KNOW DO THESE THINGS ON THE WEEKENDS OR ARE STAYING AFTER SCHOOL WELL BEYOND THE TIME THEY ARE SUPPOSE TO.

    3RD – FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION CLASSES THE DISTRICT WANTS TO REMOVE THE LANGUAGE THAT ALLOWS TEACHERS TO HAVE MORE THAN 1 ASSISTANT. THE DISTRICT ONLY WANTS THE SELF CONTAINED SPECIAL EDUCATION CLASS ROOMS TO HAVE 1 ASSISTANT. WHICH MEANS THAT ALL OTHER CLASSIFIED STAFF COULD LOOSE THEIR JOBS IF THIS CONTRACT IS ENFORCED.

    When I say “self contained classes” I mean the behavior class rooms also. Even in the middle and high schools. Only having 1 assistant will cause more behavior issues. THIS will impact general education children, like our own. Behavior students can be aggressive or even violent towards other students. Without adequate assistants these students may be at recess, in the lunch room, in music, PE, etc with general education students with minimal supervision. I am sure you can see the problems that may arise.

    4th – the district has extended the school year.

    5th- Wednesdays will no longer be early release or late start days. (the reason these days were set up like this were to give teachers prep time and meeting times.)

    6th- There will NO LONGER be language in the contract that protects the teachers from being fired without probable cause. THE TEACHERS WILL BE FIRED FOR NO REASON AND AN EXPLANATION DOES NOT HAVE TO BE GIVEN.

    IF THIS HAPPENS WE WILL NOT HAVE QUALITY TEACHERS THAT EVEN WANT TO WORK IN THIS DISTRICT IF THEY ARE NOT ABLE TO HAVE SOME WHAT OF A SECURE JOB.

    7TH – THERE WILL NO LONGER BE SENIORITY. ADMINISTRATION WILL BE ABLE TO LAY OFF/RIFF ANYONE THEY CHOOSE. IF ADMIN DOESN’T CARE FOR A PARTICULAR EMPLOYEE THEY CAN GET RID OF THEM. THE TEACHERS ABILITIES OR TIME DO NOT MATTER ANYMORE. WHICH ALSO WILL CAUSE GREAT TEACHERS TO STAY AWAY FROM OUR DISTRICT

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