Chico teachers avert strike with reluctant contract vote

In Chico, where teachers and the district had been at impasse after contract negotiations stretched on for more than a year and went into fact-finding, the board approved a deal after teachers voted to approve it by only a 60 percent margin, the Chico Enterprise-Record reports. The deal comes with a 9 percent raise over two years and averts a threatened strike in the 11,000-student district. Stockton Teachers Association members will vote Friday on their own contract deal.

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High school seniors: Deadline for Young Legislators Program extended

SACRAMENTO – The deadline to apply for Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman’s Young Legislators Program has been extended to April 14 to accommodate students and families who may have been unable to apply because of the spring break, her office has announced.

The program is designed to acquaint area high school seniors with the workings of government and the legislative process. It consists of a seminar on government, held in Stockton, and a day trip to the state Capitol.

Only high school seniors living in or attending school in the 13th Assembly District are eligible to apply. The district includes the cities of Stockton and Tracy, the communities of Mountain House and Thornton, and other unincorporated communities in west San Joaquin County.

Applications may be submitted online, via fax or mail, or delivered to the 13th Assembly District Office, 31 E. Channel St., Suite 306, Stockton, CA 95202. For more information, call (209) 948-7479. To apply online or to download an application, click here.

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Car show to benefit autism awareness

Autism activist Andrew Rigopoulos, a 2014 candidate for the Lodi Unified School District Board of Trustees, is hosting an autism awareness car show Sunday in hopes of boosting awareness about the disorder.

Rigopoulos founded “Layin’ the Smackdown on Autism” in honor of his son, diagnosed in 2013, and proceeds from the show will benefit the nonprofit.

The show will be held rain or shine and is open to all makes and models with a $25 registration fee, he said, with trophies and raffle prizes awarded throughout the day. The show will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Habanero Hots, 1024 E. Victor Road, Lodi. For more information, contact Rigopoulos at (209) 663-0203.









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Breaking news: SUSD, STA reach tentative deal, Supt. Penn reports

Stockton Unified and the Stockton Teachers Association have reached a tentative deal on a contract, averting a potential strike and bringing to a close months of protracted negotiations, according to a late-night post on Superintendent Julie Penn’s Facebook page … Note the time on the clock: 1:25 a.m.

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STA sends out mass mailer amid fact-finding

In the midst of fact-finding over contract negotiations, the Stockton Teachers Association has launched a community outreach campaign, and at least one retired teacher took issue with a hit piece that arrived in the mail Friday.

“I was shocked, I was really shocked, because I’ve been retired for six years, and the mailer, it’s pretty fancy and I think it’s a waste of money,” said the teacher, who asked not to be identified but provided The Record with the mailer. “I think the money could have been used for better purposes and I also don’t think they should get us out of retirement and try to get us involved. We were through, we’re gone. That’s not our fight. I just don’t think it’s right.”

The mass mailer features a photo of Assistant Superintendent Craig Wells under the headline “Stockton’s Students Deserve Better,” alleging Stockton Unified is “the third school district where he has created discord and distrust that has come to the brink of a strike.”

The STA also posted a message on its Facebook page under the heading “STA MEMBERS AND FRIENDS? WE NEED YOU!” and urging volunteers to distribute door hangers in neighborhoods and canvass parents picking up or dropping off students at the teachers’ school sites.

The mailer, paid for by the union, advertises two upcoming meetings April 2 and 7 and lists email addresses for all seven district trustees, urging recipients to “tell them to direct Asst. Supt. Wells to settle a fair contract.” Union President John Steiner expressed optimism after the March 16 fact-finding meeting with the district, and with both sides still awaiting the findings, the slickly packaged salvo comes as a bit of a surprise. The slick full-color card is, however, a step up from the anonymous postcards the STA began flooding Wells with beginning in February.

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Speaker to share inspirational story at Delta Charter Online commencement

TRACY – Gwendolyn Primous, president and founder of the Dome of Hope nonprofit, will deliver the inaugural keynote address at this year’s Delta Charter Online commencement, the New Jerusalem Elementary School District has announced.

Primous’ life story is one of inspiration and perseverance. One of 14 children raised in a southeast Stockton housing project, she dropped out of high school at age 15 when her father died. Her older sister, then a counselor at Franklin High, made her re-enroll and earn her General Education degree. That helped get her a job at the Stockton Police Department, but again she was forced to quit, this time to become the caregiver for her ill mother. When her mother died in 2008, Primous found herself homeless and living out of an automobile.

Despite her plight, Primous eventually enrolled into and completed her associate’s degree at San Joaquin Delta College, then, in 2013 against the odds, her bachelor’s at University of the Pacific. She’s now pursuing a graduate degree at Pacific in educational administration leadership. “Education is very dear to me,” said Primous, “and if my words can encourage or inspire someone, then I am happy!”

“The day I met Gwendolyn in the Fall 2013 I knew I had to get her in front of the Delta students and families,” Jeff Tilton, superintendent of Delta Charter Schools, said in a statement. “It is just too bad it took this long to get her here! Her background, from where she came, where she is now, and where she is heading is such an amazing story of resiliency and perseverance.”

The graduation ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. May 30 in the Teranishi Event Center on the New Jerusalem Elementary School District grounds, 31400 S. Koster Road, Tracy.

Delta Charter High School’s sister school, Delta Charter High School, will hold its ceremonies the same day at noon. Its keynote speaker will be San Joaquin County Supervisor Bob Elliott.






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‘I never knew I could be beautiful’: Prom scholarship winner shares what it meant to her

Then-Stagg High student Diane Doan checks out a prom dress at last year's Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo event at the Southern Exposure spa on the Miracle Mile in Stockton. CLFFORD OTO/The Record

One of last year’s recipients, Stagg High grad Diane Doan, who is now a private in the Army, writes about how much the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo prom dress scholarship meant to her last year:

“Well, at first, I thought it as nothing but a shallow advertisement. However this was during the period where I still had the mind set that academics was all my life was and familiar obligations. That isn’t the case anymore. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo added to my belief if I want something, I can’t always sit idly and wait patiently. Nothing lost from trying, nothing gained from dismissing the opportunity you’re given. I could have declined because I’m sure there are were other girls that have had prom on the fronts of their minds, where as mine was ‘okay, I’ve a technical paper to do, essays, and other homework to do, so..that means no movies for me tonight’. But really, I was one of those girls. 17 years of age, quiet as most have called me, and deep down admiring those that were going-with their friends, loved ones, and having fun.

Honest to the life that now serves this country, the prom scholarship was a fairytale. It was something I could only imagine doing, some years from then, never. There’s the literal meaning, I’d have gone in rags to prom with out the dress I got from this scholarship. But it was much more than that. I never knew I could be beautiful. Before then I had never touched my hair to dress it except once. Even then, it was not as magical as the hair dresser’s work. I felt amazing and new. I could never regret prom, and am so very thankful for the scholarship for giving me not only a dress but bringing out smiles that I felt even genuine to myself as I watched my fairy godmothers worked their magic, and as I walked through town in the magic on me.”

If you want to work magic for more teens like Diane, donations, payable to BBB Prom, can be mailed to: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo, 2323 Pacific Ave., Stockton CA 95204. For more information, contact Jacqueline Faylor at (209) 639-2521 or

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Merlo Institute to hold open house, recruiting event

STOCKTON – See underwater robots at work, watch an egg-launch competition and sign up for clubs and sports during the Merlo Institute of Environmental Technology’s upcoming open house and eighth-grade recruiting event.

The open house will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. April 2  in the gym at the specialized Stockton Unified academy high school, 1670 E. Sixth Street. Winners of the recent SkillsUSA regional competition – all 27 of the school’s team members qualified to advance to April’s state competition in San Diego – will exhibit their projects. Other displays will focus on 3-D printing, Mine Craft, engineering and more.

The school is holding spring registration and is now accepting applications for incoming freshmen. For more information, contact the school at (209) 933-7190, ext. 4703 or visit Merlo’s website here.

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STA-y classy, Stockton Teachers Association: Hundreds of anonymous postcards flood into SUSD

Among grievances revealed in the unfair practice charge Stockton Unified School District filed Thursday: That Stockton Teachers Association allegedly sent a deluge of anonymous postcards over the past month to Assistant Superintendent Craig Wells with handwritten threats to strike:

“In mid-February, in what can only be described as an organized effort to intimidate, coerce and harass the District, STA began sending Craig Wells, District Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, hundreds of postcards in the mail threatening to strike. (Exhibit E.) The postcards were anonymous in that they did not identify a specific member but, rather, simply had a return address of STA.’”

Download a PDF of the charge: Unfair labor charge SUSD.

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Live coverage of Stockton Unified board meeting; teachers union vote

Elizabeth is covering tonight’s SUSD board meeting and the Stockton Teachers Association strike authorization vote. Follow her here for the latest:

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