By Lynzie Lowe
Benicia Unified School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. Damon Wright said during a fireside chat held in Vallejo Saturday that passage of Measure C would increase the sense of pride, ownership and belonging for all Benicia Unified School District students.
“It is important when students arrive at school, that they feel comfortable at school, that they arrive at a school they are proud of, that it has some curb appeal,” said Wright. “This is my school. This is an institution of learning and I feel like I’m going to go in there and learn.”
The chat, facilitated by Voters Voice of Solano County representative Tara Beasley-Stansberry, was one in a series of chats highlighting Solano County candidates and measures on the March 5 ballot. This chat focused on a measure affecting the district — one of three measures on the upcoming ballot.
Source: Benicia USD Superintendent Wright outlines Measure C during fireside chat – The Vacaville Reporter
The Benicia High Debate Team is hosting an election forum for candidates for the state’s 3rd Senate District.
The candidates vying to replace Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, include Republicans Thom Bogue and Jimih Jones, and Democrats Christopher Cabaldon, Rozzana Verder-Aliga and Jackie Elward.
The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Friday in the Performance Arts Building. The highs school is located at 1101 Military West.
Source: 3rd District candidate forum set for Friday at Benicia High | News | dailyrepublic.com
By Thomas Gase
In 1960 Ruby Bridges became the first African-American child to attend formerly Whites-only William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana during the New Orleans school desegregation crisis. Today — 63 years later — students in Benicia are making sure nobody forgets.
Students in the Benicia High School Unified School District took part in a day to raise awareness for Bridges after learning about the civil rights activist in school during this year. For students at Robert Semple Elementary School, that meant walking from Francesca Park to the school while carrying signs and wearing T-shirts supporting Bridges.
The third annual event has grown in size every year, thanks to organizers like Kashanna Harmon-Lee, Laura Cohen, Krista Heredia and Rozalind Sinnamon.
Source: Benicia marches for civil rights activist – Times Herald Online
Vanden and Benicia high school students presented workshops at the recent California Friday Night Live Youth Summit in Anaheim.
Vanden’s Friday Night Live representatives presented a workshop titled “One Pill Can Kill,” about the dangers of fentanyl. The presentation was a collaboration with Drug Safe Solano and Solano County Public Health, the Solano County Office of Education reported.
Vanden representatives could not be reached Tuesday.
Source: Local Friday Night Live groups take podium at youth summit | News | dailyrepublic.com
By Thomas Gase
Last year was the first season Scott Swartz wasn’t involved in football in some capacity since 1985.
He missed it.
After taking a year off from the sport while teaching at Benicia Middle School, Swartz is back on the gridiron again — this time as Benicia High’s head football coach. He is the Panthers’ first new head coach in about 20 years.
Swartz previously coached for the San Francisco 49ers, Oregon State University, San Jose State University, Northern Arizona University, and other high school programs, including the defense with Benicia. He graduated high school from Oak Grove in San Jose and attended De Anza and Cal State Northridge for college. Swartz played as a backup quarterback at Northridge before the school cut its football program.
Source: Benicia’s Swartz looks to turn football team around – Times Herald Online
The Solano County supervisors on Tuesday doled out $28,770 to community organizations from the general fund accounts assigned to four of their five districts.
The board approved $9,000 from the District 1 (Erin Hannigan) account to benefit The Arc-Solano ($1,000), Eric Reyes Foundation ($500), Faith Food Friday ($1,000), Friends of Loma Vista Farm ($1,000), On The Move, VOICES Youth Program ($1,000), Watch Me Grow ($1,500), Solano Pride ($1,000), Meals on Wheels ($1,000) and Community Cat Advocates and Rescue ($1,000).
Source: Supervisors give nearly $30,000 to community groups
By Thomas Gase
Over the last four years, the Benicia High School Class of 2023 received lots of advice. But Principal Brianna Kleinschmidt told the 356 students at Drolette Stadium to take their own advice before moving forward.
“Take a mental snapshot of this moment right here,” Kleinschmidt said, before pausing a few seconds to continue. “Remember this snapshot and moment so years from now you can look back, remember this and say, ‘Those were the days.’
On a beautiful Saturday in Benicia, four years of hard work — including a few during the COVID-19 pandemic — paid off for the graduating Class of 2023.
Source: Benicia High Class of 2023 set to become ‘difference makers’ – Times-Herald
Fourth- and fifth-grade students in Benicia are getting out of the classroom to learn about their local wastewater and water treatment plants and discover the processes their water goes through to get cleaned.
For the fourth year in a row, the city of Benicia Public Works Department and Solano Resource Conservation District have partnered to provide Benicia students with hands-on education programming about their local water resources.
The Benicia Water Education Program takes place each spring. By the end of May, a total of 432 students across all elementary schools in Benicia will have participated.
Source: Benicia students get lesson in local wastewater, water treatment plants
By Thomas Gase
For the first time in two decades, Benicia High School has a new head football coach.
The school announced on Friday the hiring of Scott Swartz to lead the program, just two weeks after the school said longtime coach and athletic director Craig Holden had “resigned.”
Swartz previously coached for the San Francisco 49ers, Oregon State University, San Jose State University, Northern Arizona University, and other high school programs.
The school announced the hiring in a Twitter post, adding that “Coach Swartz will offer spring ball for ninth through 11th-grade student-athletes planning to play football during the fall season starting on Monday. Students should meet at 3:45 p.m. at the stadium. Additional info about summer training and start of fall season coming soon.”
Source: Benicia High announces new head football coach – Times-Herald
The Solano County registrar of voters on Tuesday certified the results of the April 11 special election for the Benicia Unified School District.
That officially makes Amy C. Hirsh, a local attorney and parent, the newest member of the school district’s board of trustees.
Hirsch will represent Trustee Area 5. She could not be reached for comment Wednesday.Hirsch received 652 votes, representing 57.96% of the 1,128 ballots cast.
Source: Benicia school district special election in the books
It was clear after the first ballot count on April 11 that Amy C. Hirsh was going to be the next Benicia Unified School District trustee.
The last count, completed Tuesday, confirmed that.
Hirsh, a local attorney and parent, collected 652 votes, or 57.96% of the 1,125 ballots counted to win the special election for the District 5 seat on the school board, the county Registrar of Voters Office reported.
Source: Final ballot count – except 2 – completed for Benicia school election
Attorney Amy C. Hirsh appears to be on her way to winning the Trustee Area 5 seat on the Benicia Unified School District board.
Hirsch, following Tuesday night’s special election count, had banked 592 votes – 58.61% of all ballots counted. As of Wednesday, those numbers were reported at 630 votes (57.59%), the unofficial results from the Solano County Registrar of Voters states.
The next closest candidate is Ariana A. Martinez with 302 votes (27.61%), followed by Ali Mansouri with 162 votes (14.81%), the Elections Office reported.
Source: Local attorney holds big lead in Benicia Unified special election
Attorney Amy Hirsh appears to be headed to a new seat on the board of the Benicia Unified School District (BUSD) after gaining a sizable lead in a special election held Tuesday.
The special election was held after no one ran for the seat to represent the Area 5 region of Benicia on the board in November’s general election.
Normally when this happens, the school district’s governing board interviews possible trustees and appoints someone to fill the seat, which they did on Nov. 3.
Source: Amy Hirsh Holds Sizable Lead In Tuesday’s Special School Board Election
By Susan Hiland
Local school districts, along with several health institutes, will host a free forum on NARCAN, a drug to treat opioid overdoses.
This forum is for educators, parents and community members focusing on Naloxone (NARCAN) and strategies for opioid and fentanyl awareness and prevention.
The event will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Benicia Unified School District, 50 East K St. in Benicia.
Source: Free NARCAN forum on Thursday
By Susan Hiland
Schools across the area are looking to fill multiple types of position, so the Solano County Office of Education hosted a job fair Saturday for people to seek jobs in a single setting.
“This is targeting the communities in Solano County,” said Mike Minahen, associate superintendent of Human Resources. “The goal for today is to provide an opportunity to recruit locally.”
Nearly all school districts in Solano County came out on a rainy Saturday.
Source: Job fair sheds light on vacancies in Solano school districts
Nominations are being accepted for the 17th annual Community Advisory Committee Recognition Awards for those who go above and beyond in the service of students with disabilities.
The CAC Awards are presented to educators, youth and community members for outstanding service who go above and beyond in service of students with disabilities.
Award recipients are from each school district within the Solano County Special Education Local Plan Area: Benicia, Dixon, Fairfield-Suisun, Travis and Vacaville, as well as the Solano County Office of Education.
Source: Nominations open to recognize those who help students with disabilities
By Brooks Jarosz
A pedestrian bridge in Benicia was demolished Friday causing some parents to fear their children won’t have a safe path to get to school.
The City of Benicia said a commercial truck crashed into the walking bridge over Military West on Tuesday, damaging it beyond repair. It continued to deteriorate and pose a serious safety risk.
Source: Benicia parents fear for children’s safety after pedestrian bridge demolished
By Ryan Geller
A special election will be held in April to fill a vacant seat on the Benicia Unified School District Governing Board after community members who applied for the seat petitioned to overturn the board’s special appointment process, alleging nepotism.
Three candidates are now running for the seat, although no candidates registered to run in November’s general election, which triggered the board’s appointment process.
Source: Benicia to hold special election for vacant school board seat
By Todd R. Hansen
Solano County supervisors on Tuesday set April 11 for a special election to fill the vacant Trustee Area 5 seat on the Benicia School District board.
The action allows the county Registrar of Voters to conduct the election.
The district board had appointed Ariana Martinez to fill the vacancy after no one ran for the post in the November election. The three others considered for the appointed, however, filed a petition arguing there was a conflict of interest and contended the board intentionally kept active parents from serving on the board, nepotism, collusion and failure to disclose that Martinez, who holds a master’s degree in social work, is the daughter of the executive assistant to the superintendent.
Source: Solano to run special election for Benicia Trustee Area 5
By Thomas Gase
As the COVID pandemic took over conversations throughout the nation, the Benicia High School Class of 2022 dealt with the kind of interruptions their predecessors couldn’t have imagined.
Yet there the students were on Saturday morning at Drolette Stadium, their voices heard loud and clear during a joyous, 361-senior celebration.
“We usually think of interruptions in a negative sense — as a disruption or distraction,” Benicia High principal Brianna Kleinschmidt told students, families and friends. “But interruptions can provide opportunity also. Interruptions remind us that things aren’t what we expect or need them to be. In the same way, each of you can interrupt expectations as you continue to discover the world and experience new things.”
Source: Benicia High Class of 2022 ‘interrupts’ summer to graduate – Times-Herald