By Nick Sestanovich
The Benicia Teachers Association voted to reject the tentative agreement Wednesday that had been reached with the Benicia Unified School District, Governing Board President Diane Ferrucci announced as Thursday’s school board meeting.
In January, BUSD had proposed a one-time bonus of 1 percent off the salary schedule for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. BTA countered with a 5 percent increase for 2017-18 and a 4.25 percent increase for 2018-19 school year. After being unable to reach an agreement, BTA requested to file for impasse. Teachers, students and parents voiced their disapproval at subsequent school board meetings, with some educators even providing lists of free services they would no longer offer to students outside of their contract hours unless an agreement was reached.
On May 17, a fact-finding hearing was held in which both parties presented their case to a neutral three-person panel so that a contract agreement could be reached. The meeting spilled over into the early morning hours of May 18 when a tentative agreement was reached. However, when the time came for the BTA to vote to accept the agreement on Wednesday, it was voted down.