Benicia Unified School District

Measure C Information

(March 5, 2024 Ballot)

Dear BUSD Parents/Guardians,

The Benicia Unified School District has been providing excellent educational services to local students since its formation in 1850. The support and dedication of our community is a key element of our collective success. However, to continue this legacy of quality education in Benicia, our schools need major renovations and upgrades.

While our facilities have been well-maintained over the years, the average age of our schools is over 55 years old. Our oldest school was built in the 1930s. Many classrooms no longer meet current building, safety, or educational standards. Faced with this growing need, the Board of Trustees unanimously decided to place Measure C, a school improvement general obligation (G.O.) bond measure, on the March 5, 2024 ballot to fund the modernization of our aging schools.
Over the last several months with input from staff, teachers, parents, community leaders, and an architect, the District has prepared a Facilities Master Plan. The Master Plan identifies the major repairs and upgrades that need to be made. Specific projects identified include:

• Repairing/replacing leaky roofs
• Expanding and renovating career technical classrooms and labs to better prepare students for employment after high school
• Replacing outdated heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems
• Renovating/constructing science and technology labs
• Improving student access to computers and technology

One notable feature of Measure C is that it will not increase the tax rate local property owners are currently paying. Instead, it will extend the old bond program approved by voters in 1997, which is set to expire in 2026, by another 30 years. In fact, it is projected that property owners will see a reduction in their tax rate by over $30.

The attached Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) handout is provided to assist teachers, staff, and voters in understanding the facts behind Measure C and how its passage will affect the District, our students and the community. Please take a moment to review the FAQ, and feel free to reach out to us should you have any questions on this important issue.

Measure C FAQ

What is Measure C?

Measure C is a $122.5 million general obligation (G.O.) bond program. The measure is intended to address the needs of the student population through modernization and renovation projects at all the District’s schools, and most notably will not increase tax rates.

Why is Measure C needed?

Benicia Unified is the highest performing district in Solano County and is committed to providing an excellent education for our students. While the district has well maintained schools, our facilities are old and major upgrades and renovations need to be made. Our oldest school was first built in the 1930s. Farmar and Semple Elementary Schools were built in the 1950s. Like all aging facilities our infrastructure requires modernization and upgrades. Health, safety and security improvements need to be made at all sites. Renovations to meet the technology needs of 21st century classrooms are needed throughout the district.

What is a G.O. bond?

G.O. bonds fund projects such as the renovation of classrooms and school facilities, as well as construction of new schools and classrooms. Similar to a home loan, G.O. bonds are typically repaid over 30 years. The loan repayment comes from a tax on all taxable property – residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial – located within the District’s boundaries.

Why can't the District meet its facilities needs with its current budget?

Today, the scope of improvements needed at the Benicia Unified School District is far more than the current funding sources available. The per-pupil funding which the District receives from the state is intended to be used for the day-to-day business of educating children and not for major upgrades, renovations, and modernization projects or new classrooms and facilities.

How did the District come up with the project list for Measure C?

Over the last several months with input from staff, teachers, parents, community leaders, and an architect, the District has prepared a School Facilities Needs Analysis. The Needs Analysis identifies the major repairs and upgrades that need to be made. In addition, a community survey was conducted to obtain voter opinions on specific projects and to gauge support for a school improvement measure.

Specific projects identified include:

• Repairing or replacing roofs
• Expanding and renovating career technical classrooms and labs to better prepare students for employment after high school
• Replacing outdated heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems
• Renovating and constructing science and technology labs
• Improving student access to computers and modern technology

What will the passage of the measure mean for our students and the community?

Measure C will provide our students with a better learning environment by making repairs and upgrades to existing classrooms and school facilities; many of which are also used by and available to the community such as the libraries and playing fields.

What will happen if Measure C does not pass?

If Measure C does not pass, our classrooms and school facilities will continue to deteriorate. In addition, funds that would otherwise go to classroom instruction will be needed to make critical safety repairs and improvements at each school. Major repairs will need to be postponed and as a result will potentially be more expensive to make.

Has the District ever passed a school improvement measure?

Yes, in 1991, 1997, and 2014 school improvement measures were overwhelmingly passed to support school facilities. Funds from those measures were used to construct new classrooms, repair and renovate aging classrooms and modernize facilities as well as improve classroom technology. This Measure would finish the work we started and bring the rest of our schools up to 21st century standards.

What will Measure C cost?

The measure will not increase the tax rate local property owners are currently paying. Instead, it will extend the current tax rate that is set to expire in 2026. In fact, it is projected that property owners will see a reduction in their tax rate by over $30.

How can I be sure funds will be spent on improving our local schools?

By law, all bond funds have to be spent locally and cannot be taken by the state. In addition, a local independent citizens’ oversight committee will be established to ensure that bond funds are properly spent. Also by law, there must be annual audits of expenditures and bond money MUST ONLY be used for authorized Measure C facility expenditures.

Measure C Documents