Medford teachers approve contract

Medford Education Association leaders announced to members Friday that the tentative agreement with the Medford School District had been ratified.

Teachers received a brief email from MEA leaders Friday night that read "The tentative agreement has been ratified!"

The ratification vote occurred Thursday, and the MEA's executive board and nominating committee finished counting the ballots Friday, the email said.

"MEA members have voted to ratify the 2013-2016 contract," said the email. "Thank you to everyone who participated in this election."

Around 5:50 p.m. Friday, MEA President Cheryl Lashley reported that the ballots had been counted, but she declined to comment on the results of the count until today, after members had been notified.

Now ratified, the deal will go to the Medford School Board for approval.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday to approve the new contract and call off the state of emergency that's been in effect since Jan. 29.

The current state of emergency allows the board to be in continuous executive session, meaning it does not need to give the public 24-hour notice before holding a closed meeting, and gives Superintendent Phil Long the power to expend funds and waive or suspend the district's educational policies and administrative regulations as needed.

The board meeting will be held in the boardroom of the Medford School District offices at 815 S. Oakdale Ave., Medford.

MEA and district bargaining teams reached a tentative agreement on Feb. 28, ending an 11-work-day strike of more than 550 teachers.

The new three-year contract calls for 190 contract days, an approximately 7.6 percent cost-of-living raise by year three, flexible prep time, extra support for special education teachers with large caseloads, and reduced early retirement benefits.

Under the contract, teachers will pay 5 percent of their insurance premiums in the first year, 7 percent in the second year and 10 percent in the third. However, the district agreed to put $250,000 in the insurance fund to offset the teachers' expenses in the third year.

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