Dear Benicia Community,

On behalf of the Benicia Unified School Board Trustees, I wanted to take a moment to update you on the negotiations process with the Benicia Unified Teachers Union (BTA). We appreciate the public’s patience as we work through this process and apologize for any disruption to the educational experience your child may be experiencing.

As you may have read, the District and the Leadership of the BTA reached a tentative agreement on May 18th.  This agreement was the culmination of the hard work of the District’s management and BTA bargaining teams over the course of 6 bargaining sessions and some 22 hours of non-stop work during the fact-finding hearing.  The Board and I want to express our gratitude to those individuals who worked so diligently to find a path forward.

Unfortunately, we learned yesterday that members of the BTA voted against the tentative agreement that had been negotiated with their leadership team. The independent fact-finding neutral will proceed to write her report that we would expect to receive in early July.  The state collective bargaining law requires that once the fact-finding report is issued, the parties must meet at least one more time to see if the provisions of the neutral’s report can form an acceptable basis for a negotiated settlement before the report is made public.  

It is possible you may have heard rumors of a possible strike. While teacher strikes are legal in California, they cannot occur until all steps in this process have been exhausted.   

The District will continue to implement the usual automatic, contractual step and column pay increases for longevity and continuing education credits for all employees still moving up the salary schedule. A majority of our teachers receive a step and/or column increase yearly.

The District remains committed to working from our three primary values including maintaining and enhancing our high-quality educational program, securing the short and long-term fiscal solvency of the District, and offering a competitive compensation package to all employee groups in order to attract and retain high-quality employees.

Please know we are committed to working with BTA in order to reach a final settlement in as timely a manner as possible.  The Trustees and I appreciate your patience as we work through this process and will keep you updated with any new developments.

Dr. Charles Young
Superintendent of Schools