After nearly a year of contract negotiations, Medford teachers will vote tonight (January 23) on whether to strike.
The Mail Tribune reports that bargaining teams from the Medford School District and the Medford Education Association have met three times this month, totaling about 30 hours, to negotiate the remaining articles of a new contract.
The district implemented the contract in late December without support of the teachers' union.
After exchanging proposals at a Jan. 14 session, the district asked the union to present its most recent proposal to its members. Teachers will meet tonight to decide on their next course of action — to strike or not.
Teachers are asking for better compensation, protected preparation time and a gradual phase-out of early retirement benefits, among other things.
District officials say the only way the district could take on those additional expenses is by increasing projected class sizes or cutting programs. But teachers say more money is available because of increases in the state's education budget.