Failed negotiations: It’s what’s for dinner
The Chico Unified School District and its teachers’ union bellied up to the bargaining table again Aug. 6, but each side says the other left before finishing the meal.

“I don’t feel like the district has bargained in earnest this entire session,” said Dan Sours, president of the Chico Unified Teachers Association, who reported that CUSD representatives left the “unproductive” session without responding to the union’s proposals. The CUTA had lowered its request for a 10.29 salary increase for 2000-01 to 8.5 percent. Then, it tried for a two-year deal: a 5 percent bonus for 2000-01 and a 9.05 raise for the following year, plus 3.4 percent to cover for elementary teacher preparation time.

The CUSD has offered a 4.76 increase in teacher salaries for 2001-02 and insists the union already closed the books on 2000-01 when it agreed to a three-year deal in earlier negotiations.

The union could call for a vote of its members Aug. 17 on whether to strike.

Ted Meriam, a longtime Chico benefactor, dies at age 91
Former Chico Mayor Ted Meriam died Sunday, Aug. 5. He was 91.

Meriam lived in Chico for almost all of his long life, and Chico State’s Meriam Library was named for him. Meriam got involved in local politics right after World War II, when much of the city’s infrastructure was crumbling from wartime neglect. He was first elected to the City Council in 1947, and made repairing city buildings and parks a priority. He served as the city’s mayor from 1949 to 1957 and was later appointed to the state’s Board of College Trustees by then-Gov. Pat Brown.

Meriam, who carried the honorary designation “Mr. Chico,” was one of Chico’s pre-eminent elders and was active in civic matters until the end of his life.

A funeral service for Meriam will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 10, at the Masonic Family Center.

Cost-of-living raise boosts Brown’s salary to nearly $129,000
The new version of the Chico Unified School District superintendent’s contract offers up a raise and deletes a pesky clause requiring loyalty by trustees.

The contract was signed off by the CUSD Board of Trustees at its Aug. 1 meeting. Superintendent Scott Brown will earn $128,824 a year—a 3.87 percent increase from last year’s $124,025. That percentage is this year’s cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, determined by the state of California.

Brown started work with the CUSD in June 1999 making $115,000 a year plus a $6,000-a-year car allowance. In 2000, the board voted to roll the car money into his total salary package and grant him a 2.5 percent raise.

Brown and the board had caught some flak for a part of the contract that had been in place since the 1980s, essentially stating that if trustees have an issue with the superintendent’s performance, they have to bring it up with him privately rather than bash him in public. The new contract deletes the clause.