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March 12, 2014

In this issue: Membership Meeting with Gender Spectrum Workshop on March 20th, CFT Convention Delegates, BCCE Rallies for Fair Contract, AFT Convention Delegate Nominations, and more…

BFT General Membership Meeting on March 20th

All members are invited to attend a general membership meeting on Thursday, March 20th 2014 at 4:00PM. The main focus of this meeting is a workshop hosted by Gender Spectrum. This fabulous organization will be training teachers and staff on the latest research on gender and gender variance, how questions of gender identity and expression impact our students and families, and how we can support and understand our students more completely. All reports of previous Gender Spectrum workshops are that they are incredibly useful, effective, and well-planned. This membership meeting will also include a negotiations update. The Berkeley Adult School is located at 1701 San Pablo Avenue.

March  28th—All BFT Members Urged to Support BCCE in Their Contract Campaign!

Our classified brothers and sisters will be rallying at 2020 Bonar St. as part of their ongoing struggle for a fair contract from 12:30 to 2:30PM and from 3:30 to 5:30PM on Friday, March 28th. BFT urges all our members to join in solidarity with our classified colleagues. Please be on the lookout for more information in coming weeks.

Want to Be a BFT Delegate to the AFT Convention This Summer?

Do you want to learn more about our national union, the American Federation of Teachers? Do you want to engage in the national dialogue about some of the most pressing issues facing teachers across the country? Nominate yourself for the BFT delegation to the AFT convention this summer, taking place in Los Angeles from July 11th-14th! Nominations open at the March 20th all-membership meeting (see above!) and close at the May 8th all-membership meeting. Elections will take place via U.S. postal mail after the May 8th membership meeting.

Are You Interested in a Reduced Workload Leave, aka a “Willie Brown” Leave?

A Reduced Workload Leave (RWL) allows a teacher to work part-time but still receive BUSD contributions to STRS and benefits as though they were working full-time. To be eligible, a teacher must be at least 55 years old and have worked in a certificated position for at least 10 years, with the last 5 years full-time. Teachers can take RWL up to .50 FTE under state law, and the deadline for notifying BUSD HR is July 15th 2014. For more information, check the Reduced Workload Leave FAQ on the BFT website or email bft4tchr@lmi.net

California Federation of Teachers Convention 

The following members have been elected to represent BFT, along with President Cathy Campbell, at the CFT convention in March: John Becker, Angela Reed, Dana Blanchard, and Tracey Iglehart. Thank you for your service to BFT.

FAQ of the Month: Reduced Workload (“Willie Brown”) Leaves

Many teachers don’t know about this great benefit. If you’re age 55+ and have been teaching in BUSD full-time for more than 5 years, check it out!

Leaving BUSD at the End of the School Year? 

Please notify the Human Resources office in writing (and please “cc” the BFT office) as soon as possible if you are certain that you will be retiring or resigning your position in BUSD at the end of this school year. Early notifications will have a direct and positive impact on temporary teachers who have not yet been rehired for next year. 

Are You Interested in a Job Share Next Year?

If you are a K-5 teacher interested in a job share for 2014-2015, please contact BFT at 549-2307 or bft4tchr@lmi.net so that we can connect you with other teachers seeking job shares.

Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning: BFT Classroom Grants Available!

Each year, Berkeley honors the work of Cesar Chavez. This year, the official BUSD Day of Service and Learning is a March 28th and a citywide commemoration period extends from March 20, 2014 to April 23, 2014. Teachers should consider implementing a related lesson any time in this period. BFT Social Justice grants can be used to support lessons and a teachers’ guide can be found at www.ecologycenter.org. Please go to the BFT website to learn more about the classroom grant program. The application is quick and easy. 

Don’t Forget Union Dues When You File Taxes!

Just a reminder that your BFT dues are 1.4% of gross income.
Voluntary Transfer Rights Provided by the BFT/BUSD Contract
The BFT/BUSD contract provides teachers the right to request a voluntary transfer to an open position at a different school so long as they have a positive evaluation and meet certain criteria (e.g. certification, credential, minimum years teaching experience, specialized training, etc.). If you have questions about how to make use of your rights in this area please contact BFT at bft4tchr@lmi.net or 549-2307. You should also carefully monitor certificated job listings posted to your email. 

BUSD Teacher Jim Schroeder Passes Away

Long-time BUSD teacher Jim Schroeder passed away in February. Jim taught at both Berkeley Adult School and in the Independent Study program. He was a tremendous teacher and union member, and will be missed.

Retired BUSD Teacher Vera Bomse Passes Away

After a long struggle with pancreatic cancer, retired teacher Vera Bomse passed away in February 2014. Her family has requested that in lieu of sending flowers, donations be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, an organization with which Vera was deeply involved. Donations can be made at www.pancan.org/section_donate. Vera will be missed.

Calendar of Coming Events 

March 20th         BFT General Membership Meeting, 4 pm, BAS
March 23rd         Cesar Chavez’s Birthday
March 28th BCCE Rally at 2020 Bonar St.
March 28th Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning
March 31st-April 4th Spring Recess