Medford School District hit with Unfair Labor Practice complaint.

teacher1The Medford Education Association (MEA) has filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) against the Medford School District. According to the MEA, a complaint has been filed with the Oregon Employment Relations Board with evidence of the district’s alleged unlawful behavior.

The MEA is accusing the district of failing to restore days and/or increase insurance coverage and salaries as agreed to after the district received more money from the state last May.

According to the complaint filed, the two sides had agreed what to do if extra money became available in a memorandum of understanding they’ve been operating under during current contract negotiations.

The MEA represents 599 teachers. They are currently in contract negotiations with the district. The group is accusing the Medford School District of violating the law the communities trust because the district had signed an agreement promising to add back cut school days and restore concessions made by teachers to save the district money. So far, the MEA says that hasn’t happened.

The MEA insists that the district should restore four days to the school calendar based on an increase in per-pupil funding the district received from the state for 2012-2013 over the previous year. The MEA is also claiming that a one-time payment of $800,000 the district received should be applied toward employees’ insurance premiums and salaries.

The district responded through its lawyers that it disagreed with the demands, saying there was no language in the memorandum that requires the district to take those steps.

The UFP further sours the contract negotiations that have now spanned eight months. Said one teacher at the October school board meeting,  “There is obviously money in the district as administrators gave themselves a nice raise last year while we were still having to cut days.”

According to the Oregon Education Association, Medford teachers are the lowest paid among metropolitan school districts in the valley. OEA’s numbers indicate Rogue River teachers get paid the least, followed by Prospect, Butte Falls, then the Medford School District. Other metropolitan school districts such as Ashland, Central Point, Phoenix-Talent and Eagle Point all pay more than the Medford School District, confirmed officials at the OEA.