By Nick Sestanovich
The weightiest topic discussed at Thursday’s school board meeting was not one of the agenda items but rather something discussed during the public comment portion. As with the Dec. 15 meeting, it concerned contract negotiations and teacher shortages.
Back in November, the Benicia Teachers’ Association declared an impasse with the Benicia Unified School District over salary negotiations. A discussion with a mediator was held on Feb. 23, but a settlement was not reached.
Another related topic that was brought up was a shortage of teachers in the district, which educators have said has created some problems. Among the issues most frequently brought up: at least 14 teachers at Benicia High School teaching above their contract, vacancies being filled by non-credentialed teachers, teachers covering an extra class during their prep periods and Spanish teachers monitoring the use of Rosetta Stone.