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April 16, 2014

In this issue: BTSA Victory, School Board Endorsements, BFT Support for Berkeley Living Wage Campaign, BFT Survey on SBA Field Test, BCCE Solidarity and more…

Victory! BUSD Changes BTSA Consortium; Will Now Support SPED Teachers!

BFT has learned that BUSD is officially changing BTSA consortiums, moving to the Contra Costa County Office of Education BTSA Consortium. This is great news in that, for the first time, Special Education teachers will no longer have to pay out of pocket to clear their credential. BFT member advocacy was a huge part of securing this victory—thank you to everyone who helped make this happen!

BFT Survey on SBA Field Test

All members who are part of the SBA Field Test are encouraged to take the BFT survey on this trial run. The survey covers technology, content and impact on students and teachers. Members will receive a link to the online survey when the testing window closes at their site. Member feedback on this field test will provide critical information to your Union – please participate!

Reminder—All Referendum Ballots to BFT Office by 5:00 p.m., Friday, April 25th 

The voting period for the current referendum extends through 5:00PM on Friday, April 25th. Again, ballots can either be sent to BFT through district mail or members can simply drop them off at the BFT office, 1432 University Avenue. After Wednesday, April 23rd, BFT strongly advises dropping ballots off in person. All members are encouraged to participate—arguments can be found on the back of your ballot.

May 1st: All Members Asked to Attend Rally in Support of Berkeley Living Wage 

BFT is asking ALL members to attend a rally in support of the Berkeley Living Wage campaign on Thursday, May 1st at 6:00 p.m. at Longfellow Middle School. The rally will be followed by a special meeting of the Berkeley City Council at which the Council will consider this ordinance, and members are invited to stay for that meeting. It is SO important for our community to see TEACHERS taking a stand for measures that help to reduce poverty and support families (and our students)! Please wear your BFT t-shirt or hoodie to this rally!

School Board Candidate Interviews Thursday, May 8th—Berkeley Adult School

All BFT members are strongly encouraged to attend our May 8th General Membership meeting which will consist of interviews of School Board candidates at 4:00 p.m. at the Berkeley Adult School Multipurpose Room. Endorsing strong School Board candidates is crucial to improving Berkeley schools and to working conditions for our members, and member input is absolutely vital to the endorsement process. BFT will also be joined at this interview by our sister union BCCE and the Alameda County Building and Trades Council. Hope to see everyone there!

BCCE Solidarity: Please post a placard in your classroom

BCCE is in a valiant contract struggle and needs our support. Your Site Rep will be coming to you to ask for your help with posting placards of support at your site. We encourage all members to participate in this solidarity action!

School Board Candidate Endorsement Decision Thursday, May 15th - Oregon Street

All BFT members are encouraged to attend our May 15th General Membership meeting and Executive Board meeting at which we will make School Board endorsement decisions. The meeting will take place at 4:00 p.m. at the Oregon Street conference room at 1720 Oregon Street. Information from the candidate interviews and the candidate questionnaires will be shared at this meeting.

Nominations for AFT Convention Delegates Due May 8th

All nominations for the 2014 AFT Convention are due to the BFT office by May 8th at 5:00 p.m. This year’s convention is in Los Angeles, from July 11-13. To nominate yourself, send BFT your name and email address, along with a short statement explaining why you wish to be a delegate via email. Delegate elections, if needed, will take place via postal mail. Note: because of some past issues with district mail, members nominating themselves are encouraged to scan their nomination form and statement in an email to

Does BFT Have Your Correct Mailing Address?

With an election coming up that will be conducted by postal mail, now is a great time to update your address with BFT! If you’ve moved and have forgotten to send us your new address, please email with an updated address. Note: if you do not receive an AFT delegate election packet at your home by May 14th, BFT does not have your correct address! Please call BFT at 549-2307 and we will provide you with a ballot.

Reduced Workload Leave, aka “Willie Brown” Leave

If you are interested in a Reduced Workload Leave, make sure to check out the relevant FAQ on the BFT website. Don’t forget that the deadline for notifying BUSD is July 15th!

Personal Leave: Know Your Rights

BFT members can use up to 9 personal leave days per year. Personal leave can be used for such things as weddings in the family, religious observances, emergencies and appointments to see a lawyer. For more information see Article 12.6 of the BFT/BUSD contract.

Retired BUSD Teacher Mary Spivey Passes Away

Former BUSD elementary and middle school teacher Mary Spivey passed away peacefully on Thursday, April 3rd at the age of 84. Our condolences go out to her family.

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 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. For more information see the “Course Approval” FAQ on the BFT web site.

Calendar of Coming Events 

 April 25thVoting on referendum closes at 5pm
 May 1stRally for Berkeley Living Wage Campaign at 6pm at Longfellow
 May 8thSchool Board candidate interviews—BAS Multipurpose Room, 4pm
 May 8thNominations due by 5pm for 2014 AFT Convention
 May 15thAll-membership & exec board meeting for candidate endorsement, 4pm at Oregon St.