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Medford teachers strike would mean half days, canceled games, district says

If Medford teachers strike as their union has threatened on Feb. 6, schools would be combined, classes reduced to half days and all sports and after-school activities would be canceled and games forfeited, Superintendent Phil Long said this afternoon.

The Medford School Board met in executive session this morning to discuss labor negotiations. Afterward, Long outlined how a strike would affect the approximately 12,000 students and their parents in Jackson County's largest district.

Schools would be combined and school days halved, with one school holding classes in the morning, the second school in the afternoon at the same site. Substitute teachers would be paid $171 per five-hour shift, and many of them likely would work two shifts per day for a total of $342. The district would also pay room and board and travel expenses for teachers hired outside the district, Long said.

Security would also have to be hired during the strike, Long said. He did not have an estimate of how much the strike would cost the district per day, but said that the money would come out of reserves and funds the district would otherwise be paying teachers.

Striking teachers would have to turn in their keys and remove all personal property, in effect resigning their positions for the length of the strike, Long said.

The Medford Education Association announced this morning that the two sides would meet for a last-hour negotiating session with state mediators on Feb. 5, the day before the potential strike. The district would be willing to meet with the union's bargaining team beforehand, Long said.

— Teresa Thomas