MEDFORD, Ore. — Just days before a potential teacher walkout that could have forced the Medford School District (MSD) to keep students home, the District said that it had reached a compromise with the Medford Education Association (MEA) to honor its plans while keeping kids in school.
Throughout the state of Oregon, May 8 is slated as a March for Students, with the potential for hundreds — if not thousands — of teachers to participate in an attempt to lobby for better education funding in the state. The event has been spearheaded by the Oregon Education Association (OEA).
1:00 p.m. - Rally
The Plaza in Downtown Ashland
4:00 p.m. - Rally
Josephine County Courthouse
9:00 a.m. - Rally
After the rally until 3:00 p.m: Visibility and Learning Expo demonstrating school programs that have been cut due to lack of funding.
Klamath County Fairgrounds, Building 1 3531 S 6th St, Klamath Falls
Credit: Oregon Education Association
"Oregon schools are in crisis, with large class sizes, missing mental and behavioral health supports, and cut programs like art, music, and PE.," the OEA said in a statement on Thursday.
MSD has faced the prospect of having to cancel school if enough teachers intend to participate in the march. However, the District said, it has been in discussion with the MEA on a way to allow teachers participate while preserving the school day for students.
"This conversation has been about how to increase awareness of student needs not being met with an unpredictable funding system.," the District said. "Over the weekend, MEA made a proposal that includes student instruction and the opportunity for district employees to work a full day. District leadership, with the support of the Medford School District Board of Directors, supports the plan."
The plan dictates that schools will remain open on May 8, but hours will be shifted, with school starting for middle and high school students and staff at the normal time (8:35 a.m. for middle school and 8:45 a.m. for high school) instead of the usual late start, then getting out early (1:35 p.m. for middle school and 1:45 p.m. for high school).
"Busing schedules will be amended accordingly, so students who ride our buses will be able to do so on May 8. Middle and high school students may see a short delay in bus arrivals due to the condensed schedule. Elementary schedules will not be affected. After school activities and athletics will continue as planned," MSD said.
A bill to provide $2 billion in funding for Oregon's education system, dubbed the Student Success Act, recently passed the state House of Representatives. Many educators consider the measure to be a step in the right direction.
"All Medford school district students, family and community members are welcome to join the activities on May 8th as we come together to appreciate the positive vote on the Student Success Act and continue to advocate for the adequate and stable state funding our students need to be successful both today and in the future," MSD said. "While planned activities in some districts include teacher 'walk outs,' our teachers and staff here at home have instead opted to keep schools open to ensure students can receive the safe learning environments they deserve and to limit financial impacts to our families and local businesses."
You can find the details on Medford's March for Students below, and details from other local districts in the sidebar.
Medford March for Students – Wednesday, May 8th
2:30 p.m. – Gather at Central Medford High School front lawn and event begins
2:50 p.m. – March to Alba Park
3:15 p.m. – Alba Park Rally begins
4:30 p.m. – March downtown
*Note about parking: Parking will be limited at Central Medford High School due to a track and field event. If you are coming from another location, consider ride sharing or park near Alba Park and walk to Central for the start of the rally.