April 3, 2020
In an effort to prioritize “students and staff over stuff,” and in light of unprecedented economic circumstances brought on by COVID-19, the Medford School District (MSD) has decided not to move forward with the purchase of Cobblestone Village at this time. The MSD had set its sights on Cobblestone Village to be the future home of Central Medford High School and other alternative programs (currently housed at 815 S. Oakdale), opening the site at Oakdale for a new middle school.
Also, the MSD will delay the planned 2021-22 school year opening of its third middle school at Oakdale. The opening of a third middle school was part of a plan to move all sixth graders to middle school in the 2021-22 school year, creating additional space at elementary schools to accommodate growth.
COVID-19 has changed the economic outlook for MSD along with school districts and businesses across the United States. The MSD, along with other districts in the state, are anticipating lower than expected funding from the state due to a projected economic downturn. The district was counting on substantial increases in revenue to offset the costs to finance the acquisition of Cobblestone Village and to remodel the Oakdale location into a third middle school. Decisions in the next several months will need to be made with less than complete or rapidly changing information, but the district’s priorities are known. Due to these unprecedented circumstances, the MSD will prioritize the preservation of cash and balancing its budget for the next fiscal year, as well as to build our reserves over time.
“We are saddened to have to make this change,” said Superintendent Bret Champion. “But to put it simply, the Medford School District prioritizes students and staff over stuff. We need to ensure that we make prudent fiscal decisions today so that we can continue to focus on student learning tomorrow.”
MSD’s need for extra classrooms and individualized instruction spaces will continue to be an issue.
“We believe the best way to meet these needs in the current economic state is to preserve cash now and revise our strategy,” said Assistant Superintendent Brad Earl. “We will prioritize funding for instructional and support resources and instruction space for our most vulnerable students.”
Work may continue in phases at 815 S. Oakdale, pending available funds, and in accordance with the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order from the state.