Tag Archives: Benicia School Board

Benicia School Board Trustee Ferrucci: ‘I do not believe a recall vote is in the best interest of our community.’

By Roger Straw, February 3, 2021

Ferrucci criticizes negativity on social media and distances herself from the recall effort organized by a family member of the same last name.

Diane Ferrucci, BUSD Trustee

On February 1, I wrote here on the Benicia Independent, “As of yesterday and as far as I can determine, past president Ferrucci has not come out to say that the recall is misguided.  Nor has she called on her daughter-in-law to stop the effort, but has stood back and let the recall unfold.  Power play?  (Stay tuned – if I hear otherwise, I’ll correct it here.)

I wish to correct my statement here today.

Today, February 3, on her Facebook page, Trustee Ferrucci took a public position criticizing speculation on social media as to her involvement, and clarifying her opposition to the recall campaign.

As a resident in this community for 40 years and an educator for almost 50 years, I am appalled at the negativity on social media.

It has come to my attention that some may believe that the recall campaign focused on two school board members is my doing. This assumption could not be further from the truth.

Simply because I share a last name with a parent involved in the recall process does not mean that I am involved in or endorse this approach. I do not believe a recall vote is in the best interest of our community. I am truly sorry that this is happening to anyone.

Ferrucci’s criticism of “negativity on social media” could refer to my having posted my February 1 opinion on Benicia Nextdoor, and multiple posts by other concerned Benicia parents and residents.

I welcome  Ferrucci’s opposition to a misguided and expensive effort to unseat two respected members of Benicia’s School Board.  It would be great if all five of the current Trustees could issue a joint statement of opposition.

Meanwhile everyone: DON’T SIGN THE RECALL PETITION!


Here is the full text of Ferrucci’s Feb. 3 statement:

As a resident in this community for 40 years and an educator for almost 50 years, I am appalled at the negativity on social media.

It has come to my attention that some may believe that the recall campaign focused on two school board members is my doing. This assumption could not be further from the truth.

Simply because I share a last name with a parent involved in the recall process does not mean that I am involved in or endorse this approach. I do not believe a recall vote is in the best interest of our community. I am truly sorry that this is happening to anyone.

I do find it contradictory to the democratic ideals of our country that some people feel I should use my family connection to stop any parent from lawfully expressing their opinions about school issues. As an elected official, I believe every voice deserves to be heard and when being board president was my role, I made it my practice to review and respond to the comments of each member of our constituency to the best of my ability even when the author did not agree with me.

The idea that I would spur this recall campaign for political gain is also a falsehood. Each trustee represents a specific geographic area of the city. Recalling one member of the Board means that another person from that area would need to be appointed or elected to the seat.

The Board is structured to allow for growth by moving through different leadership and committee positions including clerk and president. I have served my term per our bylaws in these positions with integrity and see the wisdom in having other Board members step up, learn and serve in these roles.

As one parent recently wrote to us, “Board members have a responsibility to the students, their families, the teachers, and the staff.” Like her, I believe that we are responsible to all of our constituents, and I would hope that members of the community and my colleagues on the Board, would agree that all of our constituents deserve to have their opinions recognized and fairly addressed. While some may write more eloquently than others, in the end, we are all working toward what we believe is best for our students. We, as Board members, however, must weigh and balance all of the community concerns with the needs of our students, the state and federal guidance, and the goals of the district to make decisions that lead BUSD forward.

To fail to recognize any of these voices only creates further discord in these already difficult times.

We must work together keep what’s best for the success of our students in the forefront.

Since this is my personal statement, I would appreciate no comments.

Don’t sign the Benicia recall petition!

By Roger Straw, February 1, 2021  [Contact your School officials: below.]

Everyone wants to get Benicia kids and teachers SAFELY back in school, but the recall looks more like a political power play to me

A group is circulating a petition in Benicia to oust two of our School Board Trustees.

The petition strangely singles out two of our BUSD Trustees because they – along with every other board member – would not vote to return immediately to in-person learning of students in classrooms.

In January 2021, the board voted unanimously 5-0 to postpone the return to in-person instruction to the 4th quarter of this school year.  This was due to a complex variety of factors, including most importantly health expert advice, but also State and County regulations and State executive orders.  The whole Board approved.

But now we are being asked to sign a petition for a selective recall of two of those Trustees.  One wonders why.

A recall election would cost the Benicia School District approximately $300,000, enough reason alone NOT to sign their petition.  Not to mention that by the time the special recall election is held, our kids and teachers are likely to already be back in school.

And also consider this: the petition is being circulated and promoted by the daughter-in-law of BUSD School Board member Diane Ferrucci.  Ferrucci was past president of the Board, and was replaced as Board president in December by Sheri Zada, one of the two targeted in the recall effort.

As of yesterday and as far as I can determine, past president Ferrucci has not come out to say that the recall is misguided.  Nor has she called on her daughter-in-law to stop the effort, but has stood back and let the recall unfold.  Power play?  (Stay tuned – if I hear otherwise, I’ll correct it here.  See my Feb. 3 correction here.)

Along with Zada, the petitioners want to unseat Mark Maselli, which if successful would empower a new majority on the Board and give Ferrucci and the remaining Board members (who ALL voted with the 5-0 decision) solid control on a wide range of policy matters affecting our children and teachers.

Zada and Maselli (along with Board member Gethsemane Moss) were endorsed by the Progressive Democrats of Benicia for election to the Board in 2018.  The Benicia Independent stands behind all three, and strongly opposes the removal of Zada and Maselli.

No one with a brain and heart wants our kids and teachers to go back to school before it’s safe.  And anyone with an ear to the ground has to wonder about the seeming political manipulation of this recall effort.  If you are asked to sign the petition, please DON’T SIGN!


Contact your Benicia School Superintendent and Board Trustees:

Superintendent Charles Young

Email: cyoung@beniciaunified.org
Phone: (707) 747-8300 x1211

Executive Secretary Georgina Martinez

Email: gmartinez@beniciaunified.org
Phone: (707) 747-8300 x1211

BUSD Trustees

Sheri Zada

President, Area 1 – Term Ends 2022
Email: szada@beniciaunified.org
Phone: (707) 747-8300 x1211

Mark Maselli

Trustee, Area 4 – Term Ends 2022
Email: mmaselli@beniciaunified.org
Phone: (707) 747-8300 x1211

Cece Grubbs

Trustee, Area 2 – Term Ends 2024
Email: cgrubbs@beniciaunified.org
Phone: (707) 747-8300 x1211

Diane Ferrucci

Trustee, Area 5 – Term ends 2022
Email: dferrucci@beniciaunified.orgPhone:  (707) 747-8300 ext 1211

Gethsemane Moss

Clerk, Area 3 – Term Ends 2024
Email: gmoss@beniciaunified.org
Phone: (707) 747-8300 ext 1211

Benicia Schools to remain in ALL VIRTUAL LEARNING until at least January 14

Benicia Unified School District

Superintendent Update, December 18, 2020

Dear BUSD Staff and Families:

Charles F. Young, BUSD Superintendent

I hope this communication finds you and your families well and taking in the beauty and joy of this holiday season.  As we head into winter break, I wanted to provide you with the following updates:

Last Night’s Board Meeting Regarding In-person Learning:  The Board Trustees unanimously approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), that was passed by the Benicia Teachers’ Association.  The MOU outlines the impacts and effects related to any in-person learning and was part of the motion the Trustees passed at the November19th Board meeting.

As a reminder, the Board Trustees voted 3-2 at that Board meeting to approve the implementation of in-person learning:  Pending eligibility on the California State Government’s four-tiered system and approval of the Memorandum of Understanding with our Benicia Teachers Association (BTA) to implement in-person hybrid learning.  In my update of Friday November 20th, I clarified by stating until that happens, BUSD we will remain in virtual instruction at least through the winter break.

While the Board Trustees did pass the MOU last night, they asked for the November 19th item to be brought back to the January 14th board meeting for further discussion regarding the timeline for implementation. This means we will remain in our virtual learning model at least until the January 14th board meeting.  I will provide an update following that meeting.

Trustee Changes:  During last night’s meeting, we also thanked outgoing trustee Dr. Stacy Holguin for her outstanding work as a Board Trustee during the past five-and-a-half years.  Thank you Dr. Holguin!  You served with distinction and we are forever grateful for your commitment to BUSD.  We also swore in two trustees: Dr. Gethsemane Moss, who has served on the Board since August 2019 and is starting a new, four-year term, and welcomed CeCe Grubbs, who is starting her first four-year term.

Our Amazing Food Services Department:  I want to give a shout-out to Ms. Tania Courntey, our Director of Food Services, and her absolutely amazing team, for preparing meal packages for over 400 of our BUSD families.  These food packages cover the two-week winter break period and were provided free to any family who requested one.   Thank you Ms. Courtney and team!!

The Future:  As we head into the holidays for a much needed break, I sincerely hope everyone is able to find ways to safely connect with family and friends in ways that build strong and supportive bonds.  We need each other more now than ever.

As a school district, we will continue our ongoing focus on providing the best educational experience for all of our students.  We will continue the important focus, from the Board level to the classroom, on equity and opportunity, striving to ensure the success of all our students (all means all), while focusing on any barriers that may impede the success of any student in our system.

The future is bright for our great district and I have the utmost confidence in our entire team as we continue to reflect, improve and keep our focus on our most noble task: helping each student reach his or her potential in a safe and welcoming learning environment.

Happy Holidays Everyone!  Be safe and be well.

Sincerely,
Charles F. Young, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Benicia School Superintendent Young: Letter on COVID-19 plans

YOUNG: “…transitioning to in-person instruction is not like flipping an on-off switch…. For now, we will remain in our virtual learning model until the Board approves any changes.”

Solano County COVID-19 Tier Status

Sep 22, 2020 | Latest News, nCoV
Charles F. Young, BUSD Superintendent

Dear BUSD Community,

I hope this communication finds everyone safe and well.

As you know, the Governor implemented a new Covid-19 monitoring system on Friday, August 28, 2020.  There are four tiers to the system: Tier 1 is purple-wide spread; Tier 2 is red-substantial; Tier 3 is orange-moderate, and Tier 4 is yellow-minimal.

As of today, September 22, 2020, Solano County has moved to Tier 2, red-substantial.  If our county remains in the Tier 2 status for 14 consecutive days, school districts will be permitted to hold in-person instruction.  The maintenance of Tier 2 status would allow for schools to implement an approved hybrid model as districts phase into in-person instruction. For more information on Solano County Covid-19 data, see https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/

While we view this as positive news, it is important to note that transitioning to any in-person instruction, including the hybrid models presented before the start of the school year, takes a good deal of planning and preparation. Our administrators, teachers, staff, and Board have been working together to monitor the changing landscape and consider the District’s options. Our planning includes aspects that must be bargained with the teachers union (BTA) and the classified staff union (CSEA).

It is important to note that transitioning to in-person instruction is not like flipping an on-off switch; rather, it is more like bringing a sizable power-grid back on-line, which has to be done thoughtfully, carefully and judicially to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone involved.

We are currently working on next steps and will discuss them in detail at the October 16th Board meeting. For now, we will remain in our virtual learning model until the Board approves any changes.

We appreciate your patience as we work through this process with the health and safety of everyone involved as our primary goal.

In partnership,
Charles F. Young, Ed. D
Superintendent