Medford, Ore. -- Bargaining teams from the Medford Education Association and the school district are in discussions right now here at Central Medford High School.
This time around they are being joined by a new state mediator from the Employment Relations Board, along with one other mediator that has already been in negotiations.
One thing that both sides do agree on, they are both in support of the state mediators helping with negotiations in this now year long heated debate. The mediators are meeting with both sides separately and will go back and forth during the bargaining process.
The MEA says if a contract agreement is not made by next Thursday that teachers will strike. District Superintendent Phil Long says he wants resolution, but is preparing in case one is not reached. We spoke with representatives from both sides as they went into negotiations today.
MEA President Cheryl Lashly said "it's about being in class with the kids our kids. That's where we want to be and I am hoping that's what the district wants too and they have the power to do that."
District Superintendent Phil Long said "I am always hopeful and what I know is that contracts are resolved in the last meeting and if were the last meeting that would be terrific."
Teachers say they are still trying to negotiate on several key issues, including salaries and pensions. The Medford School District is making plans to keep schools open if there is a strike.
We will continue to follow this story, and bring you updates as they become available.