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Jan 4, 2011

In this issue: March 2nd Day of Action, Retirement Notification Bonus, STRS Workshop, CFT Convention Nominations, Leaves of Absence, iTunes U and more…

Nominate a Delegate for the CFT Convention
You should have received a nomination form for the March 2011 CFT convention. Consider nominating yourself as a delegate. This year’s convention will include an election for CFT leadership and rank and file members are always encouraged to participate in this democratic process.

Help Plan 2011 Statewide Day of Action to Defend Public Education on March 2nd
Educators from pre-K to college are already planning another day of action to send the message that support of public education should be our state’s top priority. Help build upon last year’s success and keep the momentum going. BFT is looking for ideas about how to rally our community around the support of public education on March 2nd, the 2011 Statewide Day of Action.  Please contact with ideas.

College Scholarships Available - Deadline to Apply Is January 10th
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, 2011. Applications can be found at, or call the BFT office (549-2307) and we will send you a copy.

Do You Plan to Retire Next Year?  $1000 Bonus Available for Early Notification
Teachers who formally notify BUSD in writing prior to February 7, 2011 that they plan to retire at the end of the current school year will receive a $1000 bonus.  

Veteran Teachers:  Mark Your Calendar for STRS Workshop on January 20th
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 20, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room at the Berkeley Adult School, 1701 San Pablo Ave. (at Virginia).  Note the date change.

Is Your TB Clearance Up to Date?
California law requires that teachers have an up to date TB clearance on file with their District every four years.  Because teachers can be put on unpaid status if their clearance expires it is in every teacher’s interest to keep their TB clearance current.  To find out when your TB clearance expires you can look at the Personnel Action Status Form sent to you by BUSD in December.  If you do not have the form you can also contact BFT for this information.

Do You Want Your Child Enrolled in Your School Next Year?
All BFT members have a right to enroll their child in a BUSD school as part of Article 21 of the BFT/BUSD contract.  In addition, if you want your child to be assigned to your school, BUSD is obligated to make every effort to do that.  It is critical that BFT members mark on their Parent Preference form that they are a BUSD employee and, if applicable, that they teach at the school to which they want their child assigned.  This simple step prevents much confusion.

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 (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 on our website under “Resources-Forms”.

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,

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”.

Thinking About Your Taxes?  
The IRS offers free on-line tax filing if you made less than $57,000 in 2010. The service will be available after January 14, 2011 at   The United Way’s “Earn It, Keep It, Save It” program also offers free tax assistance to low-moderate income households at  As a reminder, your BFT dues are 1.4% of your gross income.

Congratulations Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action (BOCA)
Undocumented immigrants and anyone else driving without a license will no longer have their cars impounded for 30 days when stopped for minor violations, thanks to a new Berkeley police policy. BOCA was one of the driving forces in implementing this change. BFT thanks BOCA for the work it does to fight for our community members’ rights!

Free Educational Content from iTunes U
Apple’s iTunes store now offers free downloads of lectures, lab demos, and access to educational content from state agencies and nonprofit groups at iTunes U. It’s not The Beatles, but educators now have free access to things like video examples of research-based, effective instructional practices and literacy strategies. Available content includes high-quality video, audio recordings, presentations, PDF documents, and other education-related information that can be used by educators and parents.

Calendar of Coming Events
January 10 Deadline for CFT Raoul Teilhet Scholarship
January 20 STRS Workshop for Veteran Teachers @ Adult School
January 20 BFT Executive Board Meeting
January 31 Secondary Semester Break/Elementary Staff Development
February 1 Deadline for Leave of Absence Extension Requests