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Medford School District offers new proposal

A negotiations meeting between the Medford School District and its teachers union ended in a new district proposal that includes the tentative agreements made in last Tuesday's meeting and better defines teacher preparation time, Medford Superintendent Phil Long said.

The closed-door meeting began at 8 a.m. Friday and lasted more than 10 hours. Conversations centered around working conditions, the calendar year, compensation, and insurance and retirement benefits.

Around 3 p.m. Friday, Cheryl Lashley, president of the Medford Education Association, said no agreements had been made on any of the five unresolved points of the labor contract.

However, the district's bargaining team caucused to develop a new proposal and presented it to the association at 5 p.m.

"We made adjustments based on the work we did with the association on Tuesday and the input we've received from teachers and our community," Long said.

The district amended its December contract to include the tentative agreements finalized in the Jan. 7 negotiations and reduced the number of days in the school year from 192 to 190 and the number of days when pupils are in attendance from 180 to 177 as the association had proposed in its final offer.

Under the article on working conditions, the district also redefined teacher preparation time, grading time and Professional Learning Communities, "the time dedicated for collaboration among teachers."

The new definitions will allow more protection for teacher preparation time, according to a district news release.

"When a party puts a proposal on the table, the other party comes back with a response," Long said.

Both teams agreed to resume negotiations next Tuesday, Jan. 14.

"It has been productive, and certainly respectful," Long said. "There's also been some good dialogues that brought us to a better understanding of what the fundamental interests and concerns are."

Reach education reporter Teresa Thomas at 541-776-4479 or by email at tthomas@mailtribune.com. Follow her at twitter.com/teresathomas_mt.