Category Archives: Benicia School Board

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

Phone: (707) 747-8300 x1211

Executive Secretary Georgina Martinez

Phone: (707) 747-8300 x1211

BUSD Trustees

Sheri Zada

President, Area 1 – Term Ends 2022
Phone: (707) 747-8300 x1211

Mark Maselli

Trustee, Area 4 – Term Ends 2022
Phone: (707) 747-8300 x1211

Cece Grubbs

Trustee, Area 2 – Term Ends 2024
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
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.

Charles F. Young, Ed.D.

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

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

Benicia Schools to begin school year in all virtual learning mode

Superintendent Charles Young: Start of School Update 7-17-2020

Jul 17, 2020 | BUSD Latest News, BUSD nCoV

On behalf of the Board Trustees and myself, we hope this communication finds you healthy and safe during this challenging and ever changing time in our society due to Covid-19.  The complexity and unpredictability of this pandemic is calling upon all of us to be flexible and responsive in our decision making in order to protect and preserve the health and safety of those we serve.

With that said the Benicia Unified School District will begin the school year in an all virtual learning model.  We intend to work in the virtual learning model for the first quarter of the year. To remain responsive, we will review the status of our virtual learning model at each Board meeting throughout the first quarter.

While we intended to make this decision at our July 23rd Special Board meeting, the rate of case increase in our community, information gathered from our workforce and families, and uneven guidance being shared at the state and local level have compelled us to move up our decision making timeline.  On July 23rd we will instead focus on the details of the virtual learning model and the hybrid learning model that we intend to move into when we can safely move forward.

We know for some of you, this decision might come as a relief and for others, it will cause further challenges.  We all want students back in school, there is no disagreement there, but we must do so through exercising an abundance of caution. We are also reviewing the status of our childcare program to determine if we can safely expand capacity to support more of our families.

If you are not able to watch the Board meeting of July 23rd, please know the meetings are recorded and posted on our website for your convenience.  We will also put together a summary of key points and make that available to you in a Superintendent update..

Thank you so much for being patient, supportive and committed to the safety and well being of everyone in our community.  The Board and I wish there were easier answers to all of this but unfortunately, there are not. For now, we believe this is the most prudent course of action for the start of our school year together.

Charles F. Young, Ed.D.

Mark Maselli
Board Trustee

Diane B. Ferrucci
Board President

Sheri Zada
Board Trustee

Stacy Heldman-Holguin, Ed.D.
Board Clerk

Gethsamane Moss, Ed.D.
Board Trustee