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December 7, 2012



In this issue: BFT Negotiations Survey Open Until December 19th, November Election Successes, Teachers of Color Network, December Paycheck Information, and more

Please Complete Negotiations Survey by December 19th

To gather detailed and comprehensive information to guide negotiations priorities and proposals, we are asking all members to take a survey focused squarely on the ECONOMIC issues that will be bargained.  These include wages, the employee contribution to health benefits, the structure of the employer contribution to benefits, and the best uses of any revenue available for compensation increases. The BFT Negotiations Team puts a tremendous amount of weight on the results of this survey, so we hope you will make the time to have your voice heard. The link to the survey is: www.surveymonkey.com/s/bftsurvey.  The deadline to complete the survey is December 19th.

BFT Successes in the November Election!

Were you celebrating the outcomes of the November election? BFT member activism played a role in the statewide effort to pass Prop. 30 and to defeat Prop. 32. With 340 total volunteer shifts, we distributed over 2500 leaflets to Berkeley voters and called over 1500 local and state voters. Every site reached out to members through a site meeting. We worked with community organizations, such as Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action (BOCA), the Alameda Labor Council, the Peralta Federation of Teachers, and the United Democratic Campaign. Both of the School Board candidates endorsed by BFT were victorious.  This kind of mobilization proves that BFT members can and will work to make their voices heard, and strengthens our overall contract campaign.

AFT Launches Anti-Testing Campaign

The American Federation of Teachers has launched a new campaign, “Learning Is More Than a Test Score”. This campaign takes on the growing fixation on high-stakes testing in schools. The campaign builds on other recent AFT efforts, including the testing resolution approved at this summer's AFT convention (which you can find on BFT’s website).  All members are encouraged to go to www.learningismore.org to sign the petition and to learn more.  BFT will be actively participating in this campaign, so look for more information in the future.

December Paycheck Distribution Information - December Pay Arrives in January

December certificated paychecks will be directly deposited on January 2, 2013.  Teachers who pick up their checks can get them at school sites on January 7, 2013. Checks that are sent through postal mail will be mailed no later than January 2, 2013. Due to occasional difficulties with checks in postal mail, BFT strongly recommends that teachers sign up for direct deposit.

Veteran Teachers:  Mark Your Calendar for STRS Workshop on January 24th

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 on January 24, 2012, at 4:00 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room at the Berkeley Adult School.  

College Sch olarships Available - Deadline to Apply Is January 10, 2013

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, 2013.  Scholarship applications for continuing college students are due by July 1, 2013. Applications can be found at www.cft.org under “Scholarships,” or call the BFT office (549-2307) and we will send you a copy.

Sign UESF’s Petition to Replace Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education

Tired of our top decision-makers applying the ineffective business reform model to education? Then tell President Obama that we want him to replace Arne Duncan as his Secretary of Education with somebody whose policies are not focused on test-driven, competitive educational policies that do not work.  Visit the home page for a link to the petition or go to www.change.org and search for “end race to the top”.

Teachers of Color Network Update

The BFT Teachers of Color Network held their first meeting and social event on November 16th.  Co-Facilitators Susanne Reed of Jefferson Elementary School and Monica Salvador of Berkeley High School presented valuable background information and statistics related to teachers of color at the national, state, and district levels, as well as achievement rates of students of color.  Importantly, over 20 teachers from across the district attended to share their concerns, questions, and ideas on addressing issues related to the recruitment and retention of teachers of color in BUSD. If you are a teacher of color and you are not receiving emails about the Network events, please contact BFT.

Congratulations to New National Board Certified Teachers

Allison Krasnow, Tamara Friedman, and Bill Pratt have recently qualified as National Board-Certified teachers. Under our BFT/BUSD contract, they will receive an annual stipend of $1600 and their certification fees will be reimbursed by BUSD. We are proud to have such distinguished teachers among our ranks. Please contact the BFT office if you would like more information about National Board Certification. BUSD’s high quality teaching staff now includes a total of 13 National Board-Certified teachers!

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.  This form is available under “Schedules” on the BFT website, berkeleyfederationofteachers.org. Course approval must be requested within two weeks of the class being initiated.

Former Berkeley Teacher RoseAnn Santa Cruz Passes Away

RoseAnn Santa Cruz passed away on October 19, 2012, after a two-year battle with Lou Gehrig's Disease.  She taught in Berkeley for 23 years, at Thousand Oaks, Jefferson, Franklin and Columbus schools. Our condolences go out to her family as we mourn her loss and remember all that she contributed to our schools.

Calendar of Coming Events

 December 24 Winter Recess Begins
 January 7 Classes Resume
 January 10
  CFT Raoul Teilhet scholarship applications due
 January 24 STRS Workshop for Veteran Teachers @ Adult School