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Feb 7, 2011

In this issue: March 2nd Statewide Day of Action to Defend Public Education, César Chávez Commemoration, Information for Temporary Teachers and more… 

March 2nd Statewide Day of Action for Public Education – Attend an Event in Berkeley! 

BFT members will participate in a statewide day of action to defend public education on Wednesday, March 2nd. Sites are currently organizing marches from their site to a rally at the BUSD administration building at 4:30pm. Plans include music by the Brass Liberation Orchestra; local art; students’ performances and education about how to defend and fund public education. Please see your site rep to discuss your site’s participation. 

Do You Have a BFT T-shirt? 

Wearing your stylish BFT shirt at events, rallies, etc. will make us stand together and stand out. Shirts are available in crew neck or scoop neck in a variety of sizes (including children’s). Call the BFT office at 549-2307 to place an order. T-shirts are free for new members. 

Only Bargaining Unit Subs Should Be Pre-Arranged 

Remember that SubFinder does not screen out non-bargaining unit substitutes. It is each teacher’s responsibility to prearrange only bargaining unit substitutes, who pay Union dues and deserve the preference provided to them under the contract. We need to support our substitute brothers and sisters. One exception is that student teachers can be pre-arranged by their Master Teacher. 

César E. Chávez Commemoration Period March 20th to April 23rd 

The Chavez Commemoration Planning Committee, with the support of the City of Berkeley, BUSD, and UC, adopted a flexible “commemorative period” rather than a single day to honor César Chávez, thus allowing for many activities to happen without competing with one another. BFT encourages all members to participate in some way. Material to assist in planning activities and developing lesson plans is available at:, as well as on BFT’s website. A lesson guide for K-5 teachers is available on the BFT web site. 

Updated List of Substitute Teachers Who Can Be Pre-Arranged 

The most current version of the substitute teacher bargaining unit list will be available on the BFT website. Please refer to the note above concerning only prearranging bargaining unit members. 

Deadline for Filing 2010 Flexible Spending Account Reimbursement 

Reminder: Those with money still left in their Flexible Spending Accounts have until March 31, 2011 to submit claims for reimbursement for expenses incurred in 2010. 

Are You Considering A Leave of Absence for Next Year? 

Eligible teachers who plan to request a full-time unpaid leave of absence for the 2011-2012 school year must notify the Human Resources Office by March 1st to have the leave automatically granted. Check out the FAQ on the BFT website for more information, and look for the Leave of Absence Request form under “Forms”. 

Are You Considering a Sabbatical Leave for Next Year? 

The BFT/BUSD contract provides for partially paid sabbatical leaves for teachers who have worked at least ten years in BUSD. Applications are due by March 1st. Check the FAQ on the BFT website and look for the Leave of Sabbatical Request form under “Forms.” 

Are You Interested in a Job Share Next Year? 

If you are a K-5 teacher interested in a job share for 2011-2012, please contact BFT at 549-2307 or so that we can connect you with other teachers seeking job shares. 

BFT Offers Internal Mediation Service 

BFT offers members having a conflict a free, confidential internal mediation service. This service is available as long as the conflict has not been brought to an administrator. For more information call BFT at 549-2307. 

Transfer of Sick Leave Days 

If you have transferred from another district, your sick leave days should transfer with you. Each year that you are in BUSD, you should receive 11 sick days. It’s a good idea to check your paycheck to ensure your number of sick leave days is correct. If your sick leave balance is currently zero, or you think the balance is incorrect, please contact BFT. 

Berkeley Community Mourns the Loss of Jean Benson Wilkinson 

The Berkeley community mourns the passing of retired Berkeley teacher Jean Benson Wilkinson on December 28, 2010. Jean was a pioneering teacher whose belief in education as an important force in a democratic society led her to strongly support academic freedom, especially with disenfranchised students such as the farm workers’ children that she taught. Jean was a lifetime defender of civil liberties and social justice. Jean taught at West Campus, in addition to other Berkeley schools, and retired in 1977. Her granddaughter, Lila Wilkinson, teaches at Malcolm X Elementary. 

BFT & Berkeley Community Mourns the loss of Tim Moellering 

Long time BUSD teacher Tim Moellering passed away in January. Tim was raised in Berkeley, attended Berkeley public schools and actually bowled at Berkeley Bowl. He taught, coached, mentored and inspired students in his 26 years at Willard Middle School and Berkeley High. His dedication and commitment to our community are reflected in the quality athletic programs he helped develop, as well as in the academic and personal success of hundreds of his students. The Berkeley City Council honored Tim's exceptional record as a teacher and coach, and his vision of building a baseball field for Berkeley High students, with a January 18th proclamation. 

Calendar of Coming Events 

February 18th  Lincoln’s Birthday Holiday 
February 21st President’s Day Holiday  
March 1stDeadline for Leave of Absence Request and Sabbatical Request  
March 2nd Statewide Day of Action to Defend Public Education  
March 20th-April 23rd César E. Chávez Commemoration Period Begins March 31st César Chávez School Day of Service and Learning