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December 2, 2015

In this issue: Community Event on December 10th, CFT Convention in San Francisco, News from the Executive Board, Upcoming Deadlines for Leaves of Absence, Sabbaticals, Retirement Bonuses, and more…

Community  Event on December 10th—“Dreaming Big: Our Vision for Berkeley Schools”

BFT invites all members, staff, students, and community to an event on Thursday, December 10th at BTA. Pizza will be served starting at 5:30, and the event will commence with a powerful panel discussion framed around two questions: What is working in public education today? And, as we consider how to improve our schools, what should we strive for? Panelists include BUSD Board President Appel, both student BUSD Board Directors, a teacher, a parent, and an education scholar from the Learning Policy Institute at Stanford University. There will be significant time for discussion in small groups about how to improve Berkeley public schools. It’s an important year in Berkeley! Come join the conversation about how to address structural racism, what Prop 30 money should be spent on through LCAP, and what we should focus on in renewing BSEP. 6:00-7:30PM, December 10th, BTA Multipurpose room, 2701 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

From the Executive Board: Benefits, Supporting the MLK Jr. Breakfast, & Berkeley Times

At the October 1st Executive Board meeting, BFT Site Reps began an important conversation about the potential of BUSD joining CalPERS for purchasing our health insurance. Site Reps will be giving the same, highly informative, presentation at schools all across BUSD before mid-January—talk to your Site Rep for details. The Executive Board also voted to donate $250 to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Breakfast at HS Lordships on January 18th, 2016. This event honors BUSD students and their vision for Dr. King’s work. The Executive Board also renewed our subscription to the Berkeley Times. As a founding subscriber, BFT values the Berkeley Times as the only free newspaper in Berkeley and for its strong coverage of and advocacy for our schools.

CFT Convention Coming Up March 11th-13th—Put It on Your Calendar Now!

The 2016 CFT Convention is in San Francisco this year, and BFT needs to show up big! We’re hoping to have a FULL convention delegate contingent of 30 people heading into San Francisco. Mark your calendars now and look out for more information!

Veteran Teachers:  Mark Your Calendar for STRS Workshop on January 14th

This workshop is designed for educators approaching retirement.  This is not a sales pitch or a gimmick.  STRS counselors will explain the basics of STRS retirement, the three decisions to make when retiring, and what you should be doing to prepare for retirement. The meeting will take place January 14th at 4:00 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room at the Berkeley Adult School, 1701 San Pablo Ave. (at Virginia). 

Reminder: Please DO NOT Rate Subs in Aesop

Please DO NOT use the “star rating” system for substitutes in Aesop. If you have concerns about a sub’s performance, please make a strong effort to discuss your concerns with the person in question before filing an unsatisfactory report. Also remember the BFT Bargaining Unit sub list is available on the BFT website!

College Scholarships Available—Deadline to Apply Is January 10th

The AFT and CFT offer several college scholarship opportunities for children of union members (both high school seniors and continuing college students).  The CFT Raoul Teilhet scholarship applications for high school seniors are due January 10, 2016. Applications can be found at, under the “Member Services” tab.
Are You Planning to Take Courses Next Semester? Course Approval Needed
In order to receive credit for salary schedule advancement, teachers MUST submit requests for prior course approval to the BUSD Human Resources Department on the required form, including for courses related to earning a Master’s degree. This form is available under “Schedules” on the BFT website,

Get FREE Access to the UC Berkeley Library!

Any full-time public school teacher can get a free library card, good for all libraries on campus. All you need to do is bring a letter on school/department/district letterhead affirming your full-time teaching status at a public school, along with your California Driver’s License or ID, to the “Privileges Desk” at the main library. Your card will be active immediately through June 30, 2016. Go use this incredible resource!

Do You Plan to Retire Next Year? $1000 Bonus Available for Early Notification

Teachers who formally notify BUSD in writing prior to February 7, 2016, that they plan to retire at the end of the current school year will receive a $1000 bonus. To notify BUSD, teachers should use the Separation Form available on the BFT website and scan it into an email to Evelyn Bradley at

Request to Extend Current Leave of Absence Due February 1st

If you are currently working part-time and have a part-time leave of absence arrangement which you wish to continue for next year, or if you are currently on a full-time leave of absence and wish to continue the full-time leave of absence next year, you need to submit the BUSD Leave of Absence form and a cover letter explaining your request by February 1st. BUSD is not required to grant extensions, but may do so. If you intend to return to full-time teaching next year, you must notify BUSD by February 1st.

Is Your Sick Leave Balance Correct?

All full-time BFT members receive 11 Sick Days each year; part-time teachers receive a pro-rated balance. Additionally, if you worked in another district before coming to BUSD your Sick Leave balance should have transferred with you. Add up the Sick Leave days you’ve received each year in BUSD plus any days that transferred with you, subtract a rough count of days you’ve used, and check that against the balance on your November paystub. If it seems like there is a discrepancy, contact the BFT office for assistance at

Calendar of Coming Events

 December 10 BFT Community Event @ BTA Multipurpose Room
 December 19 -
 January 3
 Winter Break
 January 10
 Deadline for CFT Raoul Teilhet Scholarship Applications
 January 14 STRS Workshop for Veteran Teachers, 4:00PM @ Adult School