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January 4, 2012

In this issue: Negotiations Survey, Bonus for Early Notification of Retirement, New Employee Assistance Provider, General Membership Meeting on February 2nd and more….

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.

STRS Retirement Planning Workshop on January 12th

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 12, 2012 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the multipurpose room at the Berkeley Adult School (1701 San Pablo Avenue). Spouses and partners are welcome to attend.

General Membership Meeting About Contract Negotiations on Thursday, February 2nd

Do you have suggestions, opinions and/or questions about the BFT/BUSD contract negotiations that will begin in the spring? If so, please plan to attend a general membership meeting designed to give members a chance to give input into negotiations on Thursday, February 2nd at 4:00 p.m. in the multipurpose room at the Berkeley Adult School (1701 San Pablo Avenue).

Upcoming Contract Negotiations Survey

The BFT Negotiations Team needs your input before contract negotiations begin in the spring. All members are encouraged to participate in the negotiations survey that will take place online from January 19th to February 4th. All members will receive an email with the link to the Survey Monkey questionnaire.

BFT Advocacy Leads To Improvements

BFT advocacy efforts have, in part, led to the more readable paycheck stubs, something members have been requesting of the district. In addition, all members should receive an explanation of any unusual paycheck deduction over $50. Please let us know if this has not happened in your case. Another success comes in the form of computers. Our advocacy has helped to ensure that every classroom has at least one functioning teacher computer that allows teachers to take attendance, check Gmail, and complete other technical aspects of their job with ease. If you do not have a well functioning teacher computer please contact your BFT Site Rep.

BFT Hoodies For Sale

Want to show that you are a proud member of BFT, but just too cold for a t-shirt? You’re in luck: BFT hoodies in a variety of sizes are now available! Ask your Site Rep to model one for you and for an order form. Hoodies are dark navy blue (or black, for the smaller sizes) with a zipper and pockets in the front and very cozy. Hoodies cost $25 and members can pay for their hoody by sending a check made out to BFT with their order form.

“Millionaire’s Tax” Ballot Initiative Filed With CFT Support

In early December 2011 the California Federation of Teachers and its coalition partners in Restoring California filed the “Millionaires Tax to Restore Funding for Education and Essential Services Act of 2012” with the state Attorney General’s office. This proposed ballot measure would increase tax rates on personal incomes in excess of one million dollars per year to provide desperately needed revenues to rebuild our schools and services. The Millionaires Tax would raise an estimated $6 billion per year for schools (early childhood, K-12 and higher education), senior, child and disabled services, public safety, and rebuilding roads and bridges.

BUSD Employee Assistance Program Changes Provider

Effective January 1, 2012, ComPsych will replace Horizon Health as the provider for the BUSD Employee Assistance Program (EAP.) To contact ComPsych call: 800-697-0353 or go to www.guidanceresources.com. The EAP is a free, confidential service available to all BUSD employees that provides access to financial, legal and counseling services.

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 February 1st.

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. This right applies to all BFT members regardless of part-time, temporary or probationary status. See the “Enrolling Your Child In A BUSD School” FAQ on our website for important information about how to exercise this right.

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 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 (berkeleyfederationofteachers.org) for more information. The Leave of Sabbatical Request form is on our website under “Resources-Forms”.

Calendar of Coming Events

January 12 - Membership Meeting-STRS Presentation @ Adult School

January 19 - BFT Executive Board Meeting-Oregon Street

January 30 - Secondary Semester Break/Elementary Staff Development

February 1 - Deadline for Leave of Absence Extension Requests

February 2 - Membership Meeting- Contract Negotiations Input