Tag Archives: Benicia School Board

Ariana Martinez for Benicia School Board, April 11 Special Election

Ariana Martinez has more experience working with a wide range of children than any other candidate

By Betty Lucas, Benicia resident, January 23, 2024

Ariana Martinez, LCSW, candidate for Benicia Unified School District Board of Trustees, Area 5

Ariana Martinez is the best candidate to serve as the Board Member (Trustee) for Area 5* of the Benicia Unified School District, in the special election that will be held on April 11. To start with, she has more experience working with a wide range of children than any other candidate. More specifically:

As a social worker with a Master’s Degree in Social Work, Ms. Martinez assists a wide array of children of all ages, as well as their parents and other family members, in dealing with various educational and other challenges. She weathered the dark days of the pandemic and all of the new problems it brought, helping children and parents get through the worst of the storm. A passion for helping families still drives her.

In addition, her experience with the Benicia school system is personal, direct and in key respects more recent than other Board members or candidates. After graduating from high school here, Ms. Martinez also helped her significantly younger siblings navigate their schooling in Benicia. She remains an active member and resident of our community.

How else do I know that Ms. Martinez is the most qualified candidate for Board Member? Because, after a careful, thorough application and review process, the BUSD Governing Board chose her for the position back in November. Along with her many other qualifications, the Board took into consideration her dedication to a fair and effective school system and knowledge of special education issues.

So if she was already chosen as the most qualified applicant, why is Ms. Martinez running for the same office now?

To start with, no one ran to represent Area 5 last year, resulting in the vacancy that the Board was required to fill. Any interested, eligible candidate (parent or non-parent) could accordingly apply for the post.

As a result, in November, the Governing Board interviewed four applicants for the position. Ms. Martinez was one of them. After comparing the needs of the district with the experience and backgrounds of each of the candidates, the Board chose by a majority vote to provisionally appoint Ms. Ariana Martinez.

Once Ms. Martinez was chosen, the three unsuccessful applicants – who, again, could each have run in an election for the position last year if they were so inclined – aired various concerns to the Board. They questioned Ms. Martinez’s qualifications, alleged conflicts of interest and suggested that the Board intentionally excluded parents of current pupils from serving on the Board.

The Board took these three unsuccessful candidates’ complaints very seriously. Each complaint was repeatedly reviewed in view of relevant policy regulations and with the assistance of legal counsel. The review firmly determined, among other things, that Ms. Martinez was indeed qualified for the post, that there was no conflict of interest, that Ms. Martinez could be appointed without creating a conflict of interest, that the Governing Board did not violate policy and that there was no reason to reverse the appointment decision made last November.

Ariana Martinez is not a parent, but she brings a wealth of professional and personal experience to the table. And let’s bear in mind that she does not need to be a parent to serve Benicia’s children admirably, just as she has not needed to be a parent to be a social worker serving children. Teachers do not have to be parents to teach; pediatricians do not have to be parents to see patients; the list goes on.

In addition, the majority of current Board members have had children attending Benicia’s schools, so it’s not as though the Board lacks experience in that regard.

Our school boards need people whose dedication and experience enable them to best meet the needs of the children and schools. Even better if their qualifications complement those of other board members. Ms. Martinez was chosen because she passed all of those tests with flying colors.

In response to the Board’s justified and carefully considered decision, the three unsuccessful applicants chose to in effect cost Benicia’s schools anywhere from roughly $60,000 to $80,000, by demanding the April 11 special election for Ms. Martinez’s position. One of their number is now an opposing candidate.

That’s $60,000-$80,000 that could have gone toward an additional student/teacher(s), school supplies, computer resources, athletic equipment, school maintenance or many other needs. That’s $60,000-$80,000 that would not need to be spent now if one of the unsuccessful applicants had opted to run for the position last year. That’s $60,000-$80,000 that Benicia’s schools cannot afford to spare.

Sadly, the expenditure of $60,000-$80,000 was triggered by the unsuccessful applicants circulating a petition that required only 62 signatures to initiate a special election. This imposition on the school budget works out to about $1,000 or more per signature.

Shame on those who decided to waste valuable school dollars on an unnecessary special election, especially since they could have easily run for the position last year and saved the schools all that money.

I sincerely hope that Area 5 residents vote for the most qualified person, Ariana Martinez, on April 11, 2023 or through the mail-in ballots that will be provided in March.

BUSD Area Map (click to enlarge)

*Area 5 includes: Mathew Turner School, Lake Herman, Water’s End areas.  Click on map to enlarge. Area 5 is in purple.

More information on this matter can be found by searching online for “Important Message From BUSD Governing Board re: Trustee Area 5 Appointment and Petition“.

Betty Lucas, Benicia

Betty Lucas

Benicia Resident

BREAKING: Benicia Recall Effort Falls Far Short

BUSD Trustees Sheri Zada and Mark Maselli retain confidence of Benicia residents

Facebook post, by Alan Zada, August 23, 2021
[Mr. Zada’s source for this was a phone conversation with Laura King of the Solano County Registrar of Voters office at 5pm today.]

The Benicia School Board recall against Sheri Schulman Zada and Mark Maselli is dead.  The deadline to submit the signatures was today.  The proponents of this uncalled for recall effort were only able to get 177 signatures out of the required 4,000 (only 4%).

Thank you everyone that stood up against bullying of two outstanding school board members.

Alan Zada


Massive local opposition to School Board recall effort  – detailed info at NOBUSDRECALL.com – check it out!

School Board Recall: Paid for by OUR KIDS!

The BUSD recall special election will cost Benicia School District over $300K which they will have pull from their annual general fund. Whether it’s school supplies, playground & sports equipment, enrichment activities, tech devices, books, staffing . . . our kids shouldn’t have to pay the price.
What sacrifices will our kids and their schools have to make to pay the bill? How much more will parents have to purchase for their classroom supply lists when there isn’t enough to go around?
STOP this unjustified & wasteful recall attempt. DO NOT SIGN the BUSD recall petition!

Don’t sign the Benicia recall petition!

Our Benicia School Board is smarter than this group of parents

By Roger Straw, May 5, 2021

A totally unnecessary $300,000 is supposed to help protect our children? Profoundly stupid. The recall is simply an attack on two decent local human beings. Stand up for Sheri Zada and Mark Maselli – DON’T SIGN THE PETITION!

Those pushing the recall have one purpose: to fully open our schools to in-person learning. And it seems they don’t realize that the full BUSD School Board is on track with making that happen as soon as it is safe. Right now we have a hybrid situation, with a close eye on state and local COVID conditions.

COVID case rates among children and youth are up in Solano County. Benicia saw 72 new positive cases among all ages during April. I don’t want our kids back to school full time yet, passing their mild cases around and bringing it back home to mom, dad, grandma and grandpa.

Mild cases are NOT ok – see “Benicia Doc: People with mild covid-19 can have long-term health problems”