On Monday night the Medford Education Association (MEA) held a rally at the district offices during an executive school board session.
Over the weekend, the teachers association gave the Medford School District notice that a strike will start February 6th if no contract deal is reached.
Central High School Junior Jonathan Alarcon-Amaya said he's about to walk out too if teachers take to the picket line.
"I might just walk out on strike with them, support my teachers," Alarcon-Amaya said.
He's backing his teachers as the teachers association is in the midst of heated contract negotiations.
District Prepares for the Worst
"I'm hoping for a contract resolution but I must be prepared for the other too," said Dr. Phil Long, Superintendent of the Medford School District.
Dr. Long sent out a voice message on Sunday to 11,000 phone numbers, telling parents what to expect from now until February 6th and what may happen in the event of a strike.
District would utilize substitute teachers
He said if a strike does happen, schools would remain open and the district would turn to substitute teachers.
"Our classroom teacher count is a little over 500 ... We are confident that we will be able to get the staffing we need," said Long.
However, even while Long said all subs would be qualified and licensed, some students aren't so optimistic about substitutes in the classroom.
"Personally I don't feel like they do it like teachers do because they don't understand where we're at," said Alarcon-Amaya.
Strike would be costly for both sides
"For teachers it's costly because if you go on strike, you don't get paid. For the district, it means extra expenses and transportation and making sure we have staff up," Long said.
At this point, the plan for the Medford School District has yet to be finalized. District officials, teachers and their students are hoping a compromise can be reached when the two sides come together again Tuesday afternoon.
A state mediator will be in Medford for the Tuesday meeting. It starts at one in the afternoon.
Sticking points remain on pension, work conditions and language.
According to the Medford School District, their contract offer will:
- Raise salaries by 12%-19% over three years
- Pay $17,000 per year for full family medical, dental and vision coverage
- Add up to six school days for high schools and middle schools
- Add up to four days for elementary schools, plus two days for parent conferences
- Keep the teacher work year at 190 days
- Add protections for teachers around preparation time, layoffs and the use of test scores.
Teachers claim the district has made promises to increase pay, but hasen't fulfilled them. Teachers say they spend money out of their own pocket and often work more than 40-hours per week.
For More Information:
The Medford Education Association
The Medford School District