Originally Posted by nealtw
My thinking is that you have 2 breakers to turn off. Often three wire are used to save wire. The black and red each have there own breaker and they share the white and ground if you have a ground. The extra wire should be nutted in the box, just keep in mind that wire may be live when you turn off the breaker for the light. When you turn off your breaker, take the cover off the breaker box and see where the other wire goes. There are other reasons for using 3 wire but this is worth checking out.
thanks for the reply. i will be going to my brother's house within a few days and i will take a long look inside the box. going from what he has said:
the left switch has two wires, one wire on the left screw and one jumper wire on the right screw. the jumper hooks to the right switch's left terminal with a wire (i'm presuming a power wire) under the jumper wire. the right switches right screw (or terminal) has a red wire hooked to the right terminal. there are two white wires that are wire-nutted together in the box.
i will make sure none of the wires are live before i work on them. i don't think there is a an extra wire that is nutted in the box but i will certainly look.