The Medford School District has been negotiating with teachers and staff over a new contract for seven months. The two sides continue to disagree on basic parts of the contract, including pay.
The Medford Education Association represents teachers, specialists and school health care workers. They’re asking for an 8.5% pay increase for this school year, and future raises tied to the cost of living plus 1%.
Unlike at Portland Public Schools, the Medford union has not yet considered a strike, according to an interview in the Rogue Valley Times.
The district argues it’s facing serious financial difficulties, because of what it said is too little funding from the state. Enrollment has also declined by 3.2% districtwide over the past five years, according to documents provided by MSD, which it said is making the financial situation worse. MSD has offered staff a 10% wage increase spread over the next three years.
“Both sides have been putting in extra hours for sidebar conversations that have been productive,” said a district representative in a statement. “MSD is hopeful for a contract and raises for teachers by the new year.”
In a Facebook post, the union has said the pay raise offer from the district isn’t enough to be competitive with other similarly-sized school districts in the state, such as Tigard-Tualatin and Eugene.
The union’s most recent contract expired at the end of June. The union did not respond to requests for comment.
The two sides are expected to meet again after the Thanksgiving holiday to discuss teacher pay and working conditions.