School board will vote on resolution at Thursday’s meeting
The school board will be voting to approve the submission of two applications requesting grant funding for renovation of Benicia High School’s Performing Arts Building (PAB) at its Thursday meeting.
In May, an informational meeting was held at Benicia High to discuss two items. One was a new set of graduation requirements that had recently been approved by the school board, which parents, students, faculty and community members felt decreased opportunities for performing arts students. The new requirements were later rescinded by the board and the old ones reinstated. The other item was the PAB. Many felt the 36-year-old building was not being treated as a high priority for Measure S funding, despite safety concerns including overhead lights without support beams.
Benicia Unified School District is seeking funding from a California Proposition 51 Career Technical Education Grant. Proposition 51 was approved by California voters in the 2016 election to provide $9 billion in bond funding for construction and improvement of K-12 schools and community colleges in the state. The funding would include renovation of the current building as well as new construction. Among the improvements planned by the district are replacing the “outdated” lighting and acoustic fixtures, converting and expanding the old costume shop into a dance studio, adding changing rooms in the backstage and production support space in the backstage, and expanding the stage to provide more performance space.
The grant is “an opportunity to support our new Arts, Media, and Entertainment Industry Sector through CTE programs, specifically our Performing Arts Pathway,” according to the district.
If the grant is approved, the district will need to match the grant funds as approved by the school board at a later date. Potential matching fund sources may include Proposition 51 funds, Measure S funds or other cash sources designated for facilities.
The board will be voting on a resolution for two items: applying for grant funding for new construction and renovation of the PAB.
The school board will also hear its final round of presentations on the site schools’ Single Plans for Student Achievement (SPSA). The secondary school principals presented their SPSAs at the Oct. 19 meeting, and the principals of Joe Henderson and Robert Semple elementary schools did the same at the Nov. 2 meeting. Now the board will hear from Wendy Smith and Stephen Slater, the respective principals of Mary Farmar and Matthew Turner elementary schools, and vote on their SPSAs.
The board will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16 in the Benicia Unified School District Board Room at the district building on 350 East K St. There will be an earlier closed session at 6 p.m.