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January 26, 2012

In this issue: February 2nd Membership Meeting, Negotiations Survey, March 1st Statewide Day of Action, BPEF Summer Fellowship Grant, and more...

Please Attend the General Membership Meeting, Thursday February 2nd

This meeting will focus on negotiations and BUSD budget issues. Get the latest info about the state of education finances and tell the negotiations team your views and priorities. Meet in the Berkeley Adult School multipurpose room (1701 San Pablo at Virginia) from 4:00-5:30p.m.on Thursday, February 2nd.  

Linda Darling-Hammond to speak at Early Childhood/K-12  Conference, February 3rd 

Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, a nationally recognized expert on educational reform issues, will be presenting on the topic of educational reform with a focus on models for teachers' evaluations at a California Federation of Teachers “mini-conference” on Friday, February 3rd from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in Oakland. All members are encouraged to attend. BFT will pay all registration fees. Please email BFT at bft4tchr@lmi.net if you are interested in attending. 

March 1st Statewide Day of Action for Public Education – Plan to Attend 4:30 p.m. Rally!

Save the date! BFT members will participate in a statewide day of action to defend public education on Thursday, March 1st. Sites are currently organizing marches from their site to a rally at the BUSD administration building at 4:30pm. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend.  We must demand adequate funding for public education and social services in our state. 

Take the Online BFT Negotiations Survey

The BFT Negotiations team needs your input. Please take a few minutes to complete the negotiations survey and share your priorities by February 6th (at midnight.) The survey is quick and easy and will give the team valuable information. You should have received email from BFT with a link to Survey Monkey. If you did not, please contact the BFT office at 549-2307 or email us at bft4tchr@lmi.net.  

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 2012-2013 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”. 

BPEF Summer Fellowship Grants for BUSD Teachers

The Berkeley Public Education Foundation invites applications from individual teachers for a professional development and enrichment fellowship during the summer of 2012, to encourage BUSD teaches to aspire to the highest levels of professionalism and creativity in their field. The summer fellowship grant will support one or more teachers to undertake a significant summer learning project of their choosing. The application deadline is February 29th. See www.bpef-online.org for an application form and more information.  

Deadline for Filing 2011 Flexible Spending Account Reimbursement

Reminder: Those with money still left in their Flexible Spending Accounts have until March 15, 2012 to submit claims for reimbursement for expenses incurred in 2011. 

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.”  

Updated List of Substitute Teachers Who Can Be Pre-Arranged

The most current version of the substitute teacher bargaining unit list is available on the BFT website. 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. 

Change In Benefits Deductions

Please note that increased benefit deductions took affect beginning in the January 31st paycheck. A chart of benefit deductions can be found on BFT’s website. 

Congratulations to National Board Certified Teachers

King teachers Liz Arnett and Liz Little have recently qualified as a 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.  

BFT & Berkeley Community Mourn the Loss of Retired Educator Terry Doran

Terry Doran, who served students, teachers, and the Berkeley community for decades, died on January 1st after a long battle with cancer. Doran worked in the district for 32 years, teaching history and economics as well as serving on BFT’s Executive Board, sitting on the negotiations team and then later serving as a school board member. He was an educator who was dedicated to putting students first. While on the school board he fought for support of school parcel taxes and the improvement of the food quality in Berkeley public schools, and defended the Student Assignment Plan. We take a moment to thank him for everything he’s done to make BUSD what it is today.  

Correction: Correct Phone Number for New Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

To contact BUSD’s new Employee Assistance Program provider, ComPsych, please call 1-800-272-7255 or go to www.guidanceresources.com. We apologize for the incorrect number published in the January BFT Action.  

Calendar of Coming Events

February 2nd General Membership Meeting
February 6th Last Day to Complete Online Negotiations Survey
February 17th/February 20th Lincoln’s Birthday/President’s Day Holidays
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