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March 6, 2012

In this issue: BFT Outrage at BUSD Compensation Proposal, Nominations for BFT Officers Open March 14th, Membership Meeting On Negotiations March 14th and more….

Negotiations Update-BUSD Rejects Bonus Proposal

BUSD has rejected BFT’s proposal to use a portion of the $8.0 million Ending Fund Balance to ease members’ economic distress with a 10% bonus. They responded with a counter offer of a 0% bonus and a 1% raise for 2013-2014, claiming economic uncertainty and “program needs” as the reason for this miniscule amount. BFT’s negotiation team responded with outrage and attempted to clarify that a 1% raise does not reflect the value of our members’ work and how it factors into programmatic needs. BFT made a thoughtful counter proposal (please see the most recent Negotiations Update for details). The next negotiations session is March 14th.

We Deserve Fair Compensation- We Need All Members Involved!

BUSD’s meager offer of a 1% raise has made it very clear that the Berkeley School Board lacks an understanding of how important we are to the successful implementation of programs in Berkeley schools. We need ALL of our BFT members to show the community & the Board the value of the Berkeley teacher. We need every member to give at least 1 hour of their time in March to attend a School Board meeting, speak at a PTA meeting, pass out fliers, or talk to community members. Please complete the Contract Campaign Volunteer Sign Up form on our web site and give it to your site rep as soon as possible.

March 28th- Middle School Open House Contract Campaign Action: Please Volunteer

If you are an non-high school (CDC, BEARS, elementary, middle, Adult) teacher, please volunteer to spend one hour handing out fliers to parents at one of the Middle School Open House events on Thursday, March 28th from 6:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. The parent community was very supportive when we reached out to them at BHS Open House. Please contact brittalamo@berkeley.net to volunteer or use the Contract Campaign Volunteer Sign Up form.

BFT General Membership Meeting on March 14th

All members are invited to attend a general membership meeting on Thursday, March 14th at the Berkeley Adult School multi-purpose room, 4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. We will discuss the next steps we need to take in our contract campaign to ensure that we receive a fair contract. All members are encouraged to attend.

Is Your Seniority Date Correct? Use This Easy Guide to Check

All members are encouraged to use the “Is Your Seniority Date Correct?” guide on the BFT web site (berkeleyfederationofteachers.org) to check the seniority list recently published by BUSD. It is vital that you do not rely on BUSD’s information to be accurate. This is a very important topic, so members are encouraged to contact BFT at 549-2307 with individual questions.

Nominations for BFT Officers Open March 14th

Elections for BFT executive officers (President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer) will be held this spring. Nominations will open at the March 14th general membership meeting and will close on May 2, 2013. Nominations can be made on the form you will receive in your box. Contested elections are good for Union democracy, so don’t hesitate to nominate a colleague or yourself.

California Federation of Teachers Convention

The following members have volunteered to represent BFT, along with officers Cathy Campbell and Tracey Iglehart, at the CFT convention in March: Barry Fike, Dana Blanchard, Susan Archuletta, Brian Crowell, Yvette Felarca, David Sale, Roger Smith-Truss, Jose Colon, and Laura Rice-Hall. Thank you for your service to BFT.

BFT Weighs in on Superintendent Search

BUSD has hired the consultant firm Ray & Associates to assist in their search for a superintendent. Ray & Associates has met with many small stakeholder groups, including with BFT members. At our meeting with the consultants, we urged the Board to paper screen OUT all candidates who are graduates of the Broad Academy, and who do not have significant experience as a classroom teacher and site principal. Among other topics, we advocated for a Superintendent with a track record of improving the recruitment, hiring, support and retention of teachers of color.

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 the 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 2013-2014 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 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 29th and a citywide commemoration period extends from March 20, 2013 to April 23, 2013.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.

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Calendar of Coming Events

March 14th-  BFT General Memberhsip Meeting, 4 pm, BAS
March 23rd - Cesar Chavez’s Birthday
March 28th - Middle School Open House-Contract Campaign Action
March 30th - Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning
April 1st-5th - Spring Recess