By Nick Sestanovich
As a result of ongoing labor negotiations between Benicia Unified School District and the Benicia Teachers Association, educators, parents and students once again took to the lectern during the public comment portion of Thursday’s school board meeting to request more fair salaries for teachers.
On Jan. 24, BUSD and the BTA held a negotiations meeting following a budget workshop. BUSD proposed a one-time bonus of 1 percent off the salary schedule for both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years, citing a desire to remain competitive with surrounding school districts. BTA countered with a 5 percent salary increase for the current school year and a 4.25 percent increase for the following school year. BUSD did not accept this offer and teachers were not satisfied with receiving 1 percent off the salary schedule, so a rally was held ahead of the Feb. 1 meeting. At a Feb. 6 negotiations meeting, BUSD made a counter-proposal of 1.5 percent off the salary schedule. After being unable to reach an agreement, BTA requested to file for impasse.