Hundreds of teachers are picketing today outside district offices at Central Medford High School, 815 S. Oakdale Ave.
Teachers went on strike at 6 this morning after an overnight bargaining session between union and Medford School District officials ended without a resolution.
Some teachers said they arrived as early as 6:50 a.m. and most will remain at their post until around 4:30 p.m. today, only breaking for lunch and to go to the bathroom.
District security officers were stationed in front of the school and others were roaming the campus and parking lots. Neither teachers nor the media were allowed to walk across the commons in front of the high school or linger in the grassy areas and parking lots that are district property.
The line of teachers wrapped almost all the way around the high school and in front of Spiegelberg Stadium on the southeastern side of the campus.
When a truck tried pulling into the school parking lot, teachers marched back and forth in front of the entrance while the truck slowly inched its way through. "Remember, one move and let them go through," shouted one teacher.
Dressed in coats, hats, gloves and scarves befitting the 40-degree weather, some teachers lounged in chairs, visiting with their colleagues, while others waved signs at passing cars, garnering honks from some drivers.
Boxes of doughnuts, empty Dutch Brothers cups and other food items were strewn around empty lawn chairs set up along the sidewalk. One parent pulled up along the north side of the school and unloaded a stack of pizzas for a group of Lone Pine teachers.
"We have very supportive community members," said Heidi Gantz, a fifth- and sixth-grade teacher at Lone Pine.
A car with a "Bio Bus" sign circled the school, picking up teachers and driving them to the nearest bathroom as needed.
"We are shocked, dismayed and deeply saddened that district did not accept (our one-year) offer," Medford Education Association President Cheryl Lashley said at a press conference late Wednesday. "We remain committed to the bargaining process."
Oregon Education Association officials said negotiations would resume Saturday. School has been canceled through Monday.
Students are to resume classes Tuesday, Feb. 11, with substitute teachers unless both sides come to an agreement before then, in which case, teachers would return to their classes and resume their duties next week.
— Teresa Thomas