Chico Unified School District board recall has merit – all four are union members, that’s why they voted to give teachers who haven’t been teaching $2.5 million in bonuses

24 May

I’ve got a few notes lately from anxious parents and even some administrators about a recent school board decision to spend $2,463,606. on bonuses for school district staff, on the heels of a controversial decision to keep schools open only half days for the rest of the term.

I think that sucks too. Teachers refused to come back to the classroom for over a year, citing concerns about COVID, while parents all over town HAD to go to work or get no pay. Front line jobs like medical workers, grocery store workers, gas station workers, etc. You ever wonder how fast society would shut down if these people just didn’t show up for work? Meanwhile, teachers can refuse to come to work and not only be secure in their jobs, but get a bonus?

I’ll say something else here that will probably offend just about everybody – many of our schools have become nothing but daycare centers. Think about that. Many households have two working parents, many have only one parent at all. Many parents are poorly educated themselves. It is important to have some public institution where kids can go to be safe and educated while their parents are unavoidably away from home during the day.

That model of the nice lady down the street who will watch all the neighborhood kids, give them a slice of homemade bread smeared with peanut butter and jelly and a glass of Kool Aide – that never happened. I was born in 1960 and every mom on the block worked 8 hours a day. My grandma was a school teacher, and all her friends worked. I never knew any ladies like June Cleaver. School is a necessary institution.

COVID didn’t shut down Chico schools, the employee unions shut down the schools. Mostly I heard from the teacher’s union. That’s funny to me. When I was in the teaching program at Chico State, it was considered common knowledge that children carry a lot of germs, and new teachers get sick a lot the first year or two. Same with Chico State, when the new kids come into town. My son brought the flu home to our whole family his first semester at Butte College. It went around our house, picking us off, one by one. We were each sick for about a week, and when I got over it, I had to hold on to the furniture to get around the house.

But COVID shuts down the schools, ka-PUT! And now, almost $2.5 million in bonuses spread among school employees. Here’s an interesting bit of information I got from the agenda reports from that meeting

Looking at the reports for that agenda item, I see the average salaries for various school employees would probably shock a lot of people. For example, the average salary for a teacher, not including benefits, is $106,732. AVERAGE, remember what that means? And the starting salaries for CUSD teachers start at almost $60,000 these days.

Management is even more shocking, considering, they don’t really do the most important job at the school, they’re mostly desk jockeys who have nothing to do with taking care of or ensuring the education of your children. But they make an average – AVERAGE – salary of $139,723/year.

And then we have the lower-level “classified” staff – these folks do the maintenance on the grounds, cafeteria staff, office staff. You’d expect them to be on the low end of the totem pole, but even they make an average salary of $62,960.

For comparison, I’ll tell you, the “median” family income in Chico is about $43,000/year. I know, median and average are not exactly the same, but they’re close enough for this discussion.

But households like those have worked and skimped and saved to pay their bills, all the while paying the sales tax and property tax and other hidden fees that pay into the schools, supporting those salaries. Not to mention benefits packages, which I’ve noticed, for management anyway, are usually about half of salary.

So, this is why I’m signing the recall of board members Eileen Robinson, Kathleen Kaiser, Tom Lando, and Caitlin Dalby.

Contact recall proponents at

You might know, I supported Matt Tennis for the board and this is the reason – he’s the only one calling to get the schools back open full time, and he’s the only one who voted against the bonuses. The rest of the board are obviously not concerned with the welfare of the kids or their families. Dalby and Lando are CUSD teachers, Robinson retired from CUSD in 2002, and Kaiser has been a professor at Chico State for years, currently serving as the Chair of the Academic Senate. It’s not hard to see where their real interests lie.

2 Responses to “Chico Unified School District board recall has merit – all four are union members, that’s why they voted to give teachers who haven’t been teaching $2.5 million in bonuses”

  1. Mary May 25, 2021 at 5:26 am #

    Is there a recall petition one can sign? where do we direct others who are upset about this?

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