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Benicia School District Could Lay Off Teachers

The Benicia Unified School District will meet tonight.

Several Benicia Unified teachers may get layoff notices before March 15 in order to make up for the down economy and declining enrollment. 

The Benicia Unified School District Board of Education will meet tonight, Thursday, March 7, to discuss the possibility of cutting the equivalent of 6.8 full-time jobs for the 2013-14 school year, according to the Benicia Herald

The Herald reports that at Benicia High School, sections of math and language arts could be affected, and Spanish, history, math and science may be affected at Benicia Middle School. 

A number of classified employees may also have their positions eliminated or reduced, according to the agenda. 

The district is required to notify employees facing possible layoffs by March 15 and send final layoff notices by May 15; the notices could be rescinded before then. 

Benicia Unified School District Governing Board meets at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 7 in the district board room, 350 East K St., Benicia. The agenda is available here

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Joe Feltcher March 08, 2013 at 04:55 PM
Good. Less kids = less teachers. Sorry Unions, that is how it works. Best of luck in your new professions.
Cheryl T. March 08, 2013 at 05:32 PM
I tried to research student census history for BUSD. It would be interesting to see the complete enrollment numbers from 2002 through 2012 - but could not locate them. If a link for this info is available I would appreciate it. I hate to see anyone's job eliminated due to downturns - but this is the reality of private sector employees everywhere and I don't think any should be exempt.
Cody Kitaura (Editor) March 08, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Hi Cheryl, You're looking for the state department of education's website. Here's a graph of enrollment in Benicia Unified: http://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/DQ/EnrTimeRpt.aspx?Level=District&cYear=2011-12&cname=BENICIA%20UNIFIED&cCode=4870524 (down to 4,923 from a peak of 5,650 -- but the graph makes it look much worse) And here's the main page to research that info: http://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/
Karen LaRiviere March 08, 2013 at 07:53 PM
Hi Cheryl, Thanks for backing me up on the other issue. Back when the discussions to close Mills were going on, it was estimated that the Class of 2010 would be the last graduating class from BHS with over 400 students. At that time there were only about 270-290 incoming kindergarteners in the 4 remaining elementary schools. Surprisingly though, there have been over 400-420 students entering BHS and graduating for the last 4 years with similar numbers coming in and they aren't all coming from St. Dom's. The high school has tried to investigate all sketchy enrollments and a few years ago there were only about 118 inter-district transfers, many children of BUSD employees and not all at the high school, so it's been hard to figure out where these kids are all coming from but the middle school and high school numbers don't bear any resemblance to what was projected based on incoming kindergarteners. If that many people are lying on their registration paperwork, it's next to impossible to track them down; there just isn't the manpower, but it might explain the drop in the high schools test scores if the kids are coming from elementary schools in other areas. People are very creative in the ways that they lie. I know there are homes being rented here in Benicia but the folks live elsewhere but every year more kids show up than they anticipate. Makes it tough to plan.
Robert Livesay March 08, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Kids coming from elementary schools in other areas might explain the drop in the high school test scores. That sounds like a racist statement to me. Karen you need to explain that one.
Joe Feltcher March 08, 2013 at 08:35 PM
She's right. There are a lot of kids whose Aunties live in Benicia so they use that address and come in from Vallejo every morning. It's a loophole that needs to be closed. It is making our schools dumber, more dangerous and more impoverished.
Karen LaRiviere March 08, 2013 at 09:54 PM
Bob, the CST scores from the elementary schools in Benicia are much higher than they are in any of the surrounding areas. If the middle school and the high school are getting kids from surrounding elementary schools that aren't being taught the same things that Benicia kids are or with test scores that are not as high as ours, that's not racist, there was no mention of race at all in my post. I was giving a possible reason. I didn't say the majority of kids that may not live here but are going to school here are one race or another, I have no way to know that, just that what they teach in the elementary schools in Benicia they try to align with what they will learn in the middle school and beyond. Elementary schools in other areas, and I never said where because there are kids from many different places, are not similarly aligned.
Robert Livesay March 08, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Karen do you know what school districts these kids are coming from? Vallejo etc. Just what surrounding elementary schools are not being taught the same things that Benicia kids are and the test scores are not as high. .You seem to know where they are coming from or you would not make that statement. I would like to know just who you are refering to. How many different places. Was your comment just a generalization? I stand by my statement until proven wrong by you.
Karen LaRiviere March 08, 2013 at 11:09 PM
Bob, if you look at test scores of most elementary schools in Vallejo, Fairfield, Pinole, Richmond, Martinez which is were where the majority of inter district transfers came from several years ago all I said was they are not as high as Benicia's. stop trying to look for something that's not there. There were no racial implications anywhere in my comment. I have no idea nor do I care what race any of the kids are on IDAs and never implied anything like that. Knock it off.
leon johnson March 09, 2013 at 01:02 AM
Karen ,what you probably already know is all the children in lower performing schools are not lower performing students . Parents that attempt to place their children in higher performing schools are not the parents of low test score children . Indeed it's possible that the transfers and "rentals" actually raise the test scores in your district . My daughter transferred from one of Vallejo worst ,Beverly Hills Elementary and immediately made your honor roll . Just because you go to a high performing school does not mean you're a high performer .
Robert Livesay March 09, 2013 at 04:37 AM
Karen I am not going to knock it off. Karen I would just like you to answer the question. Remember Karen you made the statemant. Again Karen I will ask you just what schools are these children coming from and state the test scores. You did mention the schools, so now tell us the test scores that\ you are talking about. You refuse to answer that very simple question . Karen it is very simple just tell us. You did mention where the majority of transfer came from. Just tell us how many from each town which you just identified. came to Benicia schools. Do remember Karen to mention the test scores from those towns/schools. You apparently seem to know. So just tell us. Karen there is something there which you will not own up to.. I will not back off Karen until you come clean on your comment.
T. Gunter March 09, 2013 at 06:21 AM
Good grief!
Jason March 09, 2013 at 06:22 AM
Very easy to mitigate. Birth certificate/adoption papers/legal guardianship papers + tax return = proof of real residence. That would require the district to want to eject I eligible students though, which won't happen as long as funds are based of quantity of students.
Robert Livesay March 09, 2013 at 02:28 PM
Grief is not good
Cheryl T. March 09, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Here you go, Bob. Amuse yourself by researching facts at: http://star.cde.ca.gov/star2012/SearchPanel.aspx?lstTestYear=2012&lstTestType=C&lstCounty=48&lstDistrict=70581-000&lstSchool=&lstGroup=1&lstSubGroup=1 This will provide you the information you seek by school and district, unbiased as to race or economic status which seems to be the card you want to play. Try to take all that energy put into diatribes and attacks and do your homework so you may address these issues from the informative position as Karen.
Robert Livesay March 09, 2013 at 03:21 PM
Very simple. All Karen had to do is answer the question. Karen is under the asuumptiom that transfer students bring down the scores. She has no proof of that. If you are going to make a statement be prepared to back it up. What is the issue? Bob asked the question and now Cheryl does not want to answer either. She seems to know the number now tell us what schools. She will or can not back up her statement. These stats do not tell me where the students transfered from. I know a little bit more about this than you think.
leon johnson March 09, 2013 at 03:37 PM
Cheryl and Karen you are dodging the issue ,Robert is not arguing the average test scores of Vallejo and Pittsburgh compared to Benicia . What he and I would like to know is what is your evidence that these transfers lower the average test scores in Benicia . Saint Vincent likely has a high ratio of Vallejo students relative to Benicia high, yet they graduate practically all of their students ( Benicia does not) most continue on to four year institutions ,with high test scores .Connecting a dot from Vallejo to lower test score,where is the intelligent logic ??
leon johnson March 09, 2013 at 03:40 PM
Can anyone remember Governor George Wallace ??
leon johnson March 09, 2013 at 03:59 PM
it could be ,that Vallejo numbers are low ,because their best students have fled the district .
Karen LaRiviere March 09, 2013 at 04:42 PM
For the love of Pete, I used the word "might." Not "definitely," or "conclusively" or "beyond all reasonable doubt our test scores have dropped because of x, y, or z." I said, "might." It could just as easily be because alot of stupid people have moved to Benicia in the last 5 years, or that the kids have figured out that the tests don't help (or hurt) them personally so they are not taking them seriously, or it could be that it was raining that day and the kids didn't have umbrellas so they were wet when they were taking the tests. This whole stupid string of demanding answers to something that was never there to begin with was in response to Cheryl's curiousity about enrollment numbers and I stated that despite extensive planning models, the high school still had close to 80-100 students that a few years earlier they didn't expect. They have to be coming from someplace, I do not know the specific homes, families, schools or towns they are coming from and never implied that I did. I used the word "might." Just like you "might" have had nothing better to do yesterday that glom onto this issue. Did I say you "definitely" had nothing better to do? No, I said you "might." You also "might" have done something spectacular yesterday. Did I say "definitely"? No. You "might" have mowed your lawn or watched TV. I don't know and at this point don't care. And Leon, your points at least are well taken but where is YOUR proof? But you did say, "could" be . . .
Jason March 09, 2013 at 05:11 PM
It could also be that their numbers are low because its a filthy crap hole of a city made up of nothing but delinquents.
Gerard March 09, 2013 at 06:03 PM
It seems the focus of this debate is in the wrong place. CST scores do not come close to telling a complete story of the learning that takes place in a classroom. Generally, you will see schools serving higher socioeconomic regions doing better than schools serving lower socioeconomic regions. For example, even in Benicia there are differences for each school. Turner, which serves a part of town with a higher average income and fewer lower income areas has by far the best scores, while Semple, serving a lower income area, has lower scores. Then if you compare districts, Benicia outscores lower income communities like Vallejo, but areas like Walnut Creek and San Ramon have test scores that blow Benicia out of the water. What does this really say about what is going on in each classroom? There are gaps in resources available as well as social issues that students carry into the classroom. For example, students in poverty often have limited resources such as lack of internet, a place to study, steady meals, a parent at home who can help with the work, or being able to afford additional help like tutoring. However, these students can provide interesting perspective and add in non-traditional ways to a class culture but may have struggles according to traditional criteria. The main point is the CST is only a small indicator of what is going on in the school and it seems many of you are putting far too much emphasis as to what the school is or isn't bases on it.
Karen LaRiviere March 09, 2013 at 06:38 PM
Excellent points, however this whole thread got hijacked by one word. The purpose of the initial comment was to ask how we could be laying off teachers because of declining enrollment when the numbers at the high school have either stayed the same or increased over the last few years when they were projected to decrease considerably.
Robert Livesay March 09, 2013 at 07:09 PM
True Karen you did say might. But at the same time it was where you were going with it. You never mentioned any other reason that might cause test scores to go down. It was the intent. One could assume that the transfers was the reason. It was the only reason you gave. That is why I said what I said. That is why I used the word sounds. As you can see some of the posters are already pointing fingers to Vallejo. I never said any city but most assumed that was the direction. Right or wrong that is what most I assume might be thinking. That very well might not have been your intention. But everyone that sees crime immediately points to Vallejo. You see it all the time on the Patch. I would never say another city unless it was reported as so. So the intent points in one direction...
"The Black Panther of Poetry" March 10, 2013 at 04:24 AM
Joe Feltcher is the "Armpit" of Benicia Patch(literally and figuratively) just look at his Armpit Profile!!!

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