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May 10, 2010

In this issue: April 21st Rally in Sacramento a Success!, All Members Urged to Attend May 13th Hearing on State Budget at Albany High School, School Board Candidate Interviews, BAM Lecture, BFT Nominations, Course Approvals, and more…

April 21st Rally in Sacramento a Great Success!
Over 300 teachers, classified staff, students, families and friends of Berkeley Schools participated in the April 21st March on Sacramento. BFT and BCCE filled five buses for the demonstration of support for the protest to budget cuts for schools. This April 21st event generated 30 print media stories, 49 television stories and over 7400 web site and Facebook visits. Coverage was especially strong in the Central Valley media (which is a huge accomplishment).

Take The Next Step: Please Attend Hearing on State Budget on May 13th at Albany High
On Thursday, May 13th at 7:00 p.m. at the Little Auditorium at Albany High School (603 Key Route Boulevard) the Speaker of the Assembly, John Perez, and Assemblymember Nancy Skinner will hold a public hearing on the state budget. All BFT members are urged to attend in order to bring to light the devastating impacts of the cuts already made and the cuts proposed for next year. In Berkeley we are looking at further deep cuts to our Adult School program and counseling FTE at BHS, possible loss of professional development for teachers (through furlough days) and possible further increases in class sizes. Just your physical presence at this hearing will send a message (you do not need to speak, but you will have chance to speak if you wish). Major media will be in attendance – WE NEED TO PACK THE HOUSE! Please RSVP to BFT at if you can attend.

BUSD Proposal for Furlough Days in 2010-2011
On May 3, 2010, BFT and BUSD met to negotiate on the District’s proposal of two furlough days for BFT members in 2010-2011. This proposal is part of a package of cuts recommended by District staff to close a $2.7 million deficit in the 2010-2011 budget. The District proposed that the October Staff Development day, and the mid-year Staff Development day (November for secondary teachers; January for elementary teachers) be designated as unpaid non-work days. The District has indicated that in the absence of a successful agreement on furlough days they will eliminate two programs at the Adult School, which will lead to the layoff of approximately 35 Adult School teachers. In addition, the District proposes to eliminate two more BHS counseling positions in the absence of furloughs. BFT made a very reasonable counter-proposal to the District at the May 3rd negotiations session. BUSD is considering this proposal and the two parties will meet again on May 27th. If you have a strong opinion on the District’s furlough proposal, it’s important for you to communicate with your Site Rep, or directly with BFT by emailing us at 

May 13th School Board Candidate Endorsement Interviews
Joint BFT/BCCE/Alameda Labor Council/Alameda Building Trades Council interviews of possible November 2010 School Board candidates will take place from 4:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. at the BUSD Transportation Yard conference room at 1314 7th Street . The folks elected in the November 2010 election will be the Board members who ratify our next contract. It is critical that we play a key role in this next election and these interviews will inform BFT endorsement decisions. All members are invited to attend these interviews.

June 1-2: Please Help Phone Bank for Berkeley Pools Measure on June Ballot
On Tuesday and Wednesday, June 1-2, BFT will be phoning Berkeley voters to urge them to vote “yes” on Measure C which will provide funds to refurbish the Willard and West Campus pools, build a new warm pool at the West Campus site and create a standard, competition-size pool at King Middle. If Measure C does not pass, the Willard pool will permanently close. We need BFT members to help us phone on June 1-2. Dinner and a “script” will be provided. If you can help, please call us at 549-2307.

June 6 Regional Rally for Immigration Reform
On Saturday, June 6th a regional immigration rights rally will be held in San Francisco. With the recent law passed in Arizona it is critical that all of us advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. All BFT members are encouraged to participate on June 6th. Please look for a flier with more details in your box soon. 

Nominations for BFT Vice-President and AFT Convention Delegate
In January the BFT Executive Board decided to appoint Tracey Iglehart as Interim Vice-President for the remainder of the year. It was decided to have an election to fill the second year of the term. Nominations are now being accepted for the 2010-2011 school year. The deadline for nominations is May 13, 2010. This is also the deadline for nominations for the AFT Convention in Seattle, July 7-1, 2010. For more information call 549-2307.

Don’t Forget to Request Course Approval for Summer Courses
If you plan to take summer courses to move over on the salary schedule and increase your compensation you must submit a BUSD course approval request before the course begins, but no later then two weeks after the start of the course. The credits you earn will not count towards salary advancement unless you get prior approval!!!

BUSD K- 5 Summer Literacy Institute
August 23- 26, 2010 there will be a four-day workshop for BUSD K-5 teachers in implementing an exciting new reading program, based on the work of Lucy Calkins. All elementary school teachers are encouraged to participate. Please notify your principal if you are interested. You will be paid a daily stipend if you attend. Contact you site Literacy Coach for more information.

BFT Site Rep Nominations for 2010-2011 Open Until May 21st
BFT Site Reps work to represent teachers’ views, enhance a positive work environment and empower teachers. A detailed job description is available on the BFT web site. You can nominate yourself or someone else by completing the form you will receive in your mail box, or by emailing BFT. There is an annual stipend of $1200 available. Contested elections strengthen union democracy, so step up and run.

Are You Thinking About Retiring or Resigning From BUSD?
If you plan to resign or retire from BUSD, the last day to notify the Human resources Department is June 30, 2010. Under the ED Code, BUSD is not required to approve retirements or resignations after that date. You could put your credential at risk if you do not notify BUSD by the deadline. Prompt notification will help your fellow teachers whose contracts were not extended yet for next year.

Calendar of Coming Events
May 13th - Hearing on State Budget Crisis; 7pm at Albany High School
May 13th - Nominations Due for BFT Vice-President and AFT Convention Delegates
May 17th - Malcolm X’s Birthday Holiday
May 27th - Elementary Open House
May 31st - Memorial Day Holiday
June 18th - Last Day of School