Posted: Mon, September 3 2012 at 5:48 PM, Updated: Mon, September 3 2012 at 6:15 PM
This year Medford School District's classified employees go back to school without a contract.
They're not your student's teachers, but rather their librarians, media professionals, custodians and secretaries.
Micheal Powell can't wait to get back to school. "This year I missed a lot of friends. I'm excited to meet my new teachers and I'm very excited to go back to school," he tells us.
The 9 year old is starting fourth grade in the Medford School District, where classified employees have hit a wall in contract negotiations.
"We've reached our 150 days of our bargaining period," says Cindy Drought, a field representative for Oregon School Employees Association, "Now we've agreed to go into mediation."
A state mediator was requested on Friday. The situation revolving around one key issue: employee contributions to insurance.
"Administration contributes 16%, teachers about 7%, we think since we make the lowest pay we should contribute 3%," says Drought. She tells us the administration would like classifieds to contribute as much as they are, at 16%.
"Our members recognize the times are tough right now," Drought states, "we're basically looking for something more proportionate."
The situation is almost reminiscent of Eagle Point's negotiations last Spring, which also required mediation. Now, parents in that district are just glad the new school year marks a fresh start. "I'm glad that this year they can start anew," says Brenda Summers, an Eagle Point parent.
But for Michael, who has already finished his school shopping..."Calculators, notebooks, paper...
I think I'm covered," Powell says,
the classified staff at his school and their administration still have a lot of work to do.
Also causing contention for those involved, a pay raise administration received within the last month.
At this time, a negotiation schedule has yet to be determined.