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April 7, 2010

In this issue: April 21st Rally in Sacramento – BFT Providing Buses!, Furlough Days Proposed by BUSD, César Chávez Event with “Fight in the Fields” on April 15th, Ecoliteracy Scholarships Available, and more...
2010 – 2011 Proposed Budget Cuts: Budget Advisory Committee at Work
The Superintendent’s staff has recommended a set of budget cuts for 2010-2011 to meet the $2.7 million BUSD must cut due to the Governor’s proposed reductions in education funding. The Superintendent’s Budget Advisory Committee, made up of union representatives, parents, community members and a student representative, is now reviewing this list. District staff is proposing two furlough days, which would be a 1.08% temporary pay cut for BFT members. In the absence of agreement on furlough days the District is recommending the elimination of two programs at the Adult School and a further reduction of two counselors at BHS. BFT has proposed a number of realistic alternatives to these proposed cuts. 

April 21st: Get on the Bus To March and Rally in Sacramento! We Must Take Action!
Cuts in state funding to education and human services are not inevitable. These are choices our Governor and legislators are making, and they are making the wrong choices. We need to descend on Sacramento to make our voices heard. On April 21st BFT is calling upon all teachers, parents, community members and (secondary) students to go to Sacramento to take action. BFT will be providing buses. Teachers have permission to leave the site when the students leave in order to head to Sacramento (teachers will be asked to provide documentation of 2 hours of PD completed at another time). Your BFT Site Rep will be providing specific information soon. Please plan to attend and to fight for California’s future!

BFT Co-Sponsors Community-Building Event on April 15th: Please Attend
As part of the César Chávez Commemorative Period BFT, and BUSD are co-hosting a free showing of the documentary “The Fight in the Fields” by Rick Tejada-Flores and Ray Telles. There will be a discussion following the film with the creators. Admission is free to all. Dinner will be sold from 5:45 to 6:15 p.m. Childcare will be provided. The film begins at 6:30 p.m. and BFT members and their students (secondary) are strongly encouraged to attend.

April 29th: BFT General Membership Meeting at 4pm at Adult School
On Thursday, April 29th at 4:00 p.m. at the Adult School multipurpose room, BFT will hold a General Membership Meeting to update members on the proposed budget cuts for 2010-2011, including the proposal from BUSD to BFT regarding furlough days. All BFT members are encouraged to attend.

Nominations Open for BFT Vice-President for 2010-2011 Until May 13th
Per BFT By-Laws, a general election will be held in May 2010 to fill the BFT Vice-President position for the 2010-2011 school year. The person elected will fill the second year of the two-year term that began in 2009-2010 and that goes through June 30, 2011. Nominations are open until May 13th and can be made on the form you will receive in your mailbox soon. Contested elections are good for union democracy, so don’t hesitate to nominate a colleague or yourself.

March 4th Day of Action Great Success!
Over 500 teachers, students and families attended our “stand up for public education” event on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd on March 4th. Over 200 signatures were gathered for the Budget Majority Act and participants demonstrated for over two hours showing their enthusiastic support for adequate state funding for education. Thanks to all BFT members who participated and who brought students and families along!

Calling All Teachers! Ecoliteracy/Sustainability Education Training Scholarships Available
The Center for Ecoliteracy is pleased to announce the availability of scholarships for California public school teachers to attend the center’s summer seminar, “Schooling for Sustainability: Strategies That Making Teaching and Learning Come Alive.” The seminar will be held June 23-25 at the David Brower Center in Berkeley. It will offer ideas, resources, and inspiration to make sustainability education more engaging, effective and memorable. For more info go to http://www.ecoliteracy.org/events. 

Social Security Fairness: Get Active by Going to ssfairness.com
Worked as a teacher and paid into Social Security too? Did your spouse pay into Social Security? Your Social Security benefits or your spousal benefits are going to be reduced or eliminated by two very UNFAIR federal laws, Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO). Learn more about these laws, and more important, what is being done to change them by going to ssfairness.com AND ask your BFT Site Rep to schedule a Social Security Fairness presentation for your school. For more information, contact Cathy Kaneko-Jones at 524-8899 or kanekojonesgmail.com

Mathew and Celeste C. Sutton Film and Lecture Series Events at BAM
On April 22nd this series will continue with a presentation and open forum on the achievement gap and Berkeley’s 2020 Vision with Nicole Sanchez of the Berkeley Alliance and Cleavon Smith of Berkeley City College. This data-filled presentation will include specifics of the racial foundations of the achievement gap and health statistics within our district. This presentation begins at 6:30 p.m. at Berkeley Arts Magnet Elementary School.

New BFT 2010 Elections Coordinator Chosen
In anticipation of important elections in June (a pools construction bond) and November (School Board Directors and a BUSD construction bond and maintenance parcel tax renewal), BFT has hired Janice Blumenkrantz as a paid 2010 Elections Coordinator. We look forward to having Janice help us achieve successful election outcomes. When you are asked for help from Janice, please do all you can.

Are You Interested in a Job Share Next Year?
If you are a K-5 teacher interested in a job share for 2010-2011, please contact BFT at 549-2307 or bft4tchrlmi.net so that we can connect you with other teachers seeking job shares.

Calendar of Coming Events 
April 15th - “The Fight in the Fields” at Longfellow 6:30 p.m.
April 21st - Get on the BFT Bus to Sacramento! 
April 22nd - Nicole Sanchez and Berkeley’s 2020 Vision at BAM
April 29th - BFT General Membership Meeting at 4pm at Adult School
May 17th - Malcolm X’s Birthday Holiday
May 17th - Staff Development Make-up Day