Labor/Employment
6:29 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Medford Teachers Strike Continues

Credit Joi Riley/JPR

The Medford School District hired 24 more substitute teachers over the holiday weekend and shifted some classified support staff to elementary schools to balance out the adult-to-student ratio, according to district officials.

Classes will resume today after the long holiday weekend.

The Mail Tribune reports that last week, enrollment districtwide dropped from 68 percent Tuesday to 44 percent Friday. Students reported large class sizes and inadequate instruction under substitute teachers.

The total number of substitutes reporting for duty this week is about 165, up from about 150 last week, according to superintendent Phil Long.

Substitutes may be in high demand by the end of this week if Portland's 2,900 teachers decide to walk Feb. 20 as threatened.

About 20 of the 600 unionized teachers have crossed picket lines and are at work.

The district employs about 300 classified staff. Of those, 150 volunteered to work longer hours.

Two consecutive days of negotiations last week showed some movement from both sides but ended without a settlement.

Bargaining teams will check in with state mediators this afternoon and are scheduled to resume negotiations tomorrow morning.