The Benicia Unified School District
Benicia Unified School District is a public school district headquartered in Benicia, a town in Solano County, California. It operates two high schools, a secondary school and four elementary schools. Approximately 4,900 students enrolled in the district during the 2018-2019 school year. Benicia was one of the first towns in California to create a public education system, and the first public school was founded in 1849 by Reverend Sylvester Woodbridge, Jr., Old School Presbyterian Missionary from Long Island, New York.
Woodbridge also founded the first Protestant church in California in Benicia. Woodbridge was one of four presbyterian missionaries who had been sent to California during the Gold Rush in 1849. One of them, the Missouri Reverend Francis Hart, died on a flight to California. The Board of Education in Benicia, which later became the Unified School District of Benicia, was organized in May 1850.
The Board agreed to pay $1000.00 to Woodbridge for his work as a teacher that first year, making payment to him in City Bonds. Woodbridge was later named Solano County's first Commissar of Common Schools. Benicia had been California's state capital for just over a year in 1853 and 1854. The state capital was then permanently moved to Sacramento. In 1855, 71 students had enrolled in the Benicia school system.
The district investigated the possibility of establishing a charter school but was unable to reach an agreement with Pathways Charter Schools in 2009 to establish one. Pathways operate in five counties of North Bay and have an office nearby in Vallejo, California. The district has tried but failed to increase local taxes to better support schools in recent years. A proposed $105.00 per year parcel tax to provide financial support to the district failed by 175 votes in November 2004. Another parcel tax measure was on the ballot in June 2006, but it was unsuccessful. A six-year, $58.00 annual parcel tax measure was on the ballot in 2010 and received 62.8% of the vote. The bill failed, however, because it needed 2/3 support to pass a constitutional amendment passed by the voters in 1978, in accordance with the provisions of California's Proposition 13.
You can find the following places of learning in Benicia, California:
- Benicia High School
- Benicia Middle School
- Joe Henderson Elementary School
- Mary Farmar Elementary School
- Matthew Turner Elementary School
- Robert Semple Elementary School
- Liberty High School
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