Community Briefing

EMPLOYEES SAY 'NO' TO CONTRACT: The Modesto City Employees Association has rejected a contract offer from the city. The 440-member blue-collar bargaining group is the only city union operating without a contract. The vote last week was 291-50. Last month, the Modesto City Council approved 11-month contracts with the Modesto Confidential and Management Association and the Modesto Police Non-Sworn Association that gave the unions 3 percent raises. Deputy Personnel Director Barbara Santos said the city and MCEA have a bargaining session scheduled for Monday.

STUDY WILL LOOK AT FIRE PROTECTION: The Patterson City Council agreed Tuesday to split the cost of a study with the West Stanislaus Fire District that will look at ways to consolidate fire services on the West Side. The study, which was awarded to Folsom-based Citygate Associates for $55,000, will examine merging the cities of Patterson and Newman with the West Stanislaus Fire District to form one fire department. Mayor Becky Campo said Newman has been reluctant in the past to join in talks about consolidation and hasn't decided if it will contribute financially to the effort, even though Newman will be included in the study. "Our geographical area puts us in a bind. We want to include Newman. They are on the West Side, and if we leave them out, that is a pocket of the West Side that is not included," Campo said. Should Newman decide to participate, the cost of the study will be divided among the three agencies. It is expected to be completed in about five months.

MANTECA TEACHER TOPS IN COUNTY: A veteran science teacher at Sierra High School in Manteca was named San Joaquin County's Teacher of the Year on Wednesday. Lisa Snyder, a teacher for 21 years, helps train first-year teachers through the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment program. Prior to her job with the Manteca Unified School District, Snyder used her background in wildlife and conservation management in the Peace Corps. Each year, San Joaquin County selects one Teacher of the Year from applicants throughout the area's 14 school districts. Snyder now advances to the state level, where she will be considered for one of five California Teacher of the Year Awards.

CALAVERAS HIGH HOLDS OPEN HOUSE: Calaveras High School will hold its annual open house from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Most classrooms will be open. There will be department demonstrations and club activities. FFA is sponsoring a spaghetti feed fund-raiser at $5 per plate. Teachers will be on-hand for parents who have questions about classes and administrators will be available for parents with testing questions. For more information, call 754-1811, ext. 5301.