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District's latest offer extends early retirement benefit deadline

The Medford School District "moved really big" in state-mediated negotiations today at the Inn at the Commons, Superintendent Phil Long said this afternoon.

"We put an equivalent of $4.5 million on the table relating to early retirement benefits," he said.

The Medford Education Association's bargaining team worked late Wednesday night and returned to negotiations this morning with a new proposal, Long said.

The district countered the proposal around 1:30 p.m.

In its new proposal, teachers retiring before June 30, 2015, will be eligible for the full early retirement benefit, in which the district would pay health insurance for early retirees for up to eight years or until they received Medicare. The deadline for this benefit was previously set for March 31, 2014.

Long said this move has the potential to impact about 30 teachers.

"I anticipate (the union's bargaining team) will need some time to think on it," he said. "I'm hoping we will see something really big come back that will signal we are bringing this to a close."

— Teresa Thomas