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January 15, 2013

In this issue: STRS Workshop on January 24th, Nominations Open for CFT Convention Delegates, Leave of Absence Requests Due March 1st, New Nationally Board Certified 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 January 24th, 2012 at 4 pm in the Multipurpose Room at the Berkeley Adult School, 1701 San Pablo Ave. (at Virginia).

Contract Campaign Is Gearing Up-We Need You! 

As you know, we are currently in negotiations for a new contract. In order to educate the Board and the community about the impact of four years without a raise, and the ongoing increases to health insurance costs, have had on our members, WE NEED YOUR HELP! Your site rep will be approaching you with a variety of ways in which you can participate in our campaign. Please complete the Contract Campaign Volunteer Sign Up form and return it to your site rep.

Nominate a Delegate for the CFT Convention in March - Nominations Due January 31st

You should have received a nomination form for the March 2013 CFT convention, taking place in Sacramento March 15th-17th. The union’s vitality and democracy depend upon participation in the convention of delegates from all locals. Consider nominating yourself as a delegate. Up to ___ BFT members can attend as delegates and any BFT member is eligible. BFT will provide transportation, lodging, and expenses for 10 members. Nominations are due to the BFT office by January 31st.

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

Are you considering retirement at the end of this year? BUSD offers a $1,000 incentive for early retirement notification. To be eligible for this incentive you must inform BUSD by February 7, 2013 with a letter stating your intention to retire. (Please mail a copy to BFT.)

Want To Enroll Your Child In A Berkeley School?

Article 21.3 of the BUSD/BFT contract gives you this right, even if you do not live in Berkeley and are part-time. See the “Enrolling Your Child In A BUSD School” FAQ on our website for key information.

Correction of Health Benefit Deduction Errors in December Paycheck

BFT lodged a forceful complaint with BUSD regarding the mistakes made in December paychecks for BFT (and Union of Berkeley Administrators) members on BUSD health benefits. This mistake will be corrected on the January 31st paycheck, but members should contact BFT if the mistake presents and immediate financial hardship. Look for further information from BFT on how to check the accuracy of your January benefits deduction.

BUSD Security Breach

A letter from BUSD alerted members that a certain number of employees’ personal information was compromised due to the theft of a Mt. Diablo Unified School District computer. BFT is collecting information from BUSD regarding this incident and consulting with our lawyer about any steps that may need to be taken. BFT is recommending that affected members take advantage of the one-year free identity theft protection being offered by Mt. Diablo, and we are advocating for measures BUSD can take to reduce the use of social security numbers as a form of employee identification.

BFT Hoodies For Sale

Brrrr! When we have a cold snap, doesn’t your BFT hoody feel cozy? Don’t have one, yet? Ask your site rep to model one for you and for an order form. Hoodies cost $25.00 and come in Men's (navy) or Women's (black) sizes.

BUSD Conducting Safety Audit

BUSD will hire a consultant to re-examine safety procedures and gunman-on-campus scenarios at all BUSD schools. The audits of each school will combine what to do when a violent person comes on campus as well as fire and earthquake plans. If there are security issues you feel are not being addressed at your site, for example, an inability to hear fire alarms or communicate with the office, please inform your site rep.

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 Feb. 1st.

Are You Considering a Leave of Absence for Next Year? Requests Due March 1st

Eligible teachers who plan to request a full-time unpaid leave of absence for the 2013-2014 school year must notify the Human Resources Office by March 1st to have the leave automatically granted (Article 12.1.2 of the BFT/BSUD Contract). We strongly recommend that you check the FAQ on the BFT website for more information. The Leave of Absence Request form is also on our website.

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. (Article 12.12) Applications are due by March 1st. Check the FAQ on the BFT website ( for more information. The Leave of Sabbatical Request form is on our website under “Resources-Forms”.

Did You Know That Peer Coaching Is Available To All Teachers?

Are you teaching a new grade level or subject area this year? Have you transferred to a new school? Do you want to improve your teaching practice through one-to-one work with a peer coach? Do you have individual professional development needs that are not met through district wide staff development days, or department/grade level meetings? Are you teaching with an intern credential? If you’re interested in having a peer coach, see the “Peer Coaching Opportunities” FAQ on our website.

Retired BUSD Teacher Mary Barrett Passes Away

Retired teacher Mary Barrett taught for 35 years in BUSD, at LeConte, Oxford, Rosa Parks and Thousand Oaks schools. Mary was a beloved teacher, writer, poet, singer, dancer, and union site rep. In her teaching Mary shared her passion and joy for kids, learning, and doing the right thing. During her long illness of five years, she continued to write poetry, host a reading group, and even on occasion, take part in a demonstration or two. She will be missed.