Jackson County School District 9 will reopen its schools without striking employees.
A short while ago, the employee union confirmed its decision to go on strike at 6 a.m. today. The decision came after teams from the district and union met in an effort to reach a contract agreement.
The union decided to strike despite a district offer that would increase employee compensation by $4.3 million, preserve current levels of preparation time for teachers and provide sensible ways to direct more funding to the classroom. Our offer also would increase instructional time, preserve a full school year of classes and keep class sizes stable or lower for students in middle and high school.
As a result of the strike, all district schools will be closed for the rest of this week, through Friday, May 11. During this time, we will complete security measures at the schools and provide orientation for temporary employees. Most school activities will be canceled during the strike, as will all community use of district facilities. The only exceptions are
· Varsity athletics, which will continue as scheduled
· Senior Spring Board Presentations on May 11 as scheduled
· Eagle Point High School FFA plan sale scheduled for May 10-12.
Starting on Monday, May 14, we will resume educational programs for students. We will operate two shifts of classes per day when schools reopen. All elementary classes will be held at three schools: Hillside Elementary in Eagle Point, White City Elementary and Shady Cove K-8. All middle and high school classes will be held at Eagle Point High School. Children will go to morning or afternoon classes, but not both.
At the elementary level, the instructional program will continue our focus on reading and mathematics, using the same curriculum as before. At the secondary level, we will ensure that seniors get the coursework they need to graduate as scheduled on June 8. For other secondary students, we will provide instruction in the core subjects of language arts, mathematics, social studies and PE. We will provide online options for students who need flexibility in their schedules. For elective courses, we will ensure that students receive credit for work already completed.
Special education services will be available, as will bussing and meal service. Bus schedules will be posted on the district website along with information on which schools students will attend, www.eaglepnt.k12.or.us. Of course, students may continue walking to school and parents may continue to drive them if they prefer.
We are sending a letter to parents detailing these plans. Throughout the strike, we will provide regular updates for parents using the following methods:
· Automated phone calls.
· District website: www.eaglepnt.k12.or.us.
· Community information phone lines: 541-830-6697 and 541-830-6698. Operators will be on duty 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. A recorded message will be provided other times.
We regret that the union has chosen to pursue its agenda in a way that hurts students and the community. We will keep working for a contract that protects a full school year of instruction, keeps class sizes from growing and keeps teachers working. We will return our schools to normal operation as soon as these goals are achieved.