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February 24, 2012

Rally on March 1st to Support Education Funding

With Occupy movements putting increased pressure on policymakers, now is an essential time to once again make our voices heard. Join educators, students, and parents across the state who will be marching and rallying in support of education on Thursday, March 1st. March from your site to a rally at the BUSD office on MLK that will include student speakers and live music, beginning at 4:30. Please contact your site rep for your site's March 1st plan. Be sure to wear your BFT t-shirt or hoodie.

March 5th: Occupy Education Mobilization to Occupy the Capitol

On Monday, March 5th, thousands of students, parents, teachers and workers will flood Sacrament to demand that Wall Street and the 1% pay their fair share to RE-fund education, jobs, essential services and a better future for all citizens. BFT members may use personal leave to participate in this mobilization as long as they confirm that a sub has been secured to cover their absence, and we encourage members to participate. This Sacramento action will include a mass march, a rally, a general assembly and nonviolent direct action training and, for those who choose to participate, an occupation of the Capitol building. For more information, and to sign up for a spot on the bus, please go to Please let BFT know if you will be participating.

Nominations for CFT Convention Delegates - Forms Due March 1st

Consider nominating yourself as a BFT delegate to the 2012 CFT Convention in San Jose on Friday, April 13th through Sunday, April 15th. The convention is a great way to share ideas with other teachers and union activists. BFT will provide reimbursement for hotel, meals and transportation for up to nine delegates. If you are interested, please submit the nomination form you received in your box, or email BFT at

BFT General Membership Meeting for Temporary Teachers on March 15th

All temporary status teachers are encouraged to attend a BFT meeting on Thursday, March 15th from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Berkeley Adult School. The Adult School is located at 1701 San Pablo Avenue. At this meeting we will provide key information for temporary teachers, allow lots of time for questions and answers, and give some ideas about how to support yourself through the spring. Solidarity and clear information are really important in these challenging times and we aim to provide both on March 15th.

Are You Considering a Leave of Absence for Next Year, or Resignation or Retirement?

Due to the extensive budget cuts being considered for next year, informing the District of your plans for next year sooner rather than later can be a great help to your fellow teachers. If you are considering any of these options for next year, please be sure to consult the BFT website, which has FAQs on all of these subjects. Please feel free to contact BFT if we can assist with individual questions.

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

This citywide effort emphasizes service learning and environmental justice as the best means of honoring César Chávez. The commemorative period begins on March 20th — the Spring Equinox & traditional beginning of the planting season. It extends through César's birthday to April 23rd, the anniversary of his passing. Teachers are encouraged to participate in the BFT Social Justice Service Learning Grants program (money available for service learning projects in your classroom) and the district-wide Chávez Essay Contest (entries due March 19th). Please see the BFT website for more information on these great action options.

Teachers of Color Network Social Event - Potluck on March 9th

All BUSD teachers of color are invited to the Teachers of Color Network Potluck & Social on Friday, March 9th, 4:30 p.m., at B-Tech High School (2701 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, at the corner of MLK and Derby). Free parking is widely available near the school. Teachers are encouraged to attend in order to gather together from time to time, get to know each other, and share ways the group can help meet the common goals. Feel free to bring something delicious!

Deadline for Filing 2011 Flexible Spending Account Reimbursement

Reminder: Those with money still left in their Flexible Spending Accounts have until March 31, 2012, to submit claims for reimbursement for expenses incurred in 2011.

Are You Interested in a Job Share Next Year?

If you are a K-5 teacher interested in a job share for 2012-2013, please contact BFT at 549-2307 or so that we can connect you with other teachers seeking job shares.

Filing Your Taxes?

The IRS offers free on-line tax filing if you made less than $58,000 in 2011. The service is available at The United Way’s “Earn It, Keep It, Save It” program also offers free tax assistance for low- to moderate-income households at As a reminder, your BFT dues are 1.4% of your gross income.

Credential Fees to Increase

Please note that the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing is planning to increase its fee for credential renewal from $55 to $70. The date of the increase has not yet been established, so renew your credential now, if needed, to save on increased fees. You can go to to check or renew your credential.

Berkeley Federation of Teachers: Your Dues Dollars at Work

BFT values its strong link to our community and has shown support by donating $9,000 to the Berkeley Public Education Foundation to support the Berkeley Schools Volunteers program; donating $250 to the Berkeley Public Library Foundation Branch Library Campaign; renewing our membership in U.S. Labor Against the War; and attending the Council of Black Trade Unionists fundraising dinner on February 24th.

Calendar of Coming Events

 February 29th Deadline for BPEF Belva Davis Summer Fellowship Application
 March 1st Deadline for Leave of Absence Request and Sabbatical Request
 March 1st Statewide Day of Action to Defend Public Education