Medford School District superintendent releases statement on strike

Medford School District Superintendent Phil Long released the following statement this morning after the district and the Medford Education Association were unable to reach a contract settlement overnight:

"Dear Parents and Community Members,

The teachers union went on strike this morning, effective at 6 a.m. This is a sad day for me personally, and I understand how frustrating this must be for our parents and the community at large.

Effectively, the strike will require us to close schools today, Friday and Monday as we engage and train substitute teachers to reopen schools Tuesday.

This was a moment we've worked diligently to avoid over many months of negotiations, and particularly over the last two days. Our negotiating team did not sleep last night as we wrestled with numbers and various scenarios that we hoped would meet our students' long-term needs and still satisfy teachers.

You have heard, and will continue to hear, a lot of rhetoric about the negotiations. Without pointing fingers, some of the statements you will hear and read will be exaggerated or simply untrue. Emotions are running high, and that is going to lead to misunderstandings.

Our goal as a District will be to provide you accurate and timely information as we work through this strike. We will be negotiating again beginning Saturday, the earliest day we could meet again with a state mediator.

We need and appreciate your continued support as we seek an agreement that best serves Medford's students.

Thank you,

Phil Long

Superintendent Medford School District 549C"

Attempts to reach Long and MEA President Cheryl Lashley were unsuccessful early this morning.

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