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May 15, 2013

In this issue: May 8th Mobilization a HUGE Success, Event to Honor Retiring Employees on June 6th, Call for Moratorium on High Stakes Testing,  BFT Elections and more…

May 8th Rally a Huge Success!

Thank you to all of the BFT members who contributed to the successful action on May 8th. Hundreds of BFT, BCCE, and community members rallied before and during the School Board meeting to stress the importance of settling the question of compensation. Parents, teachers and staff packed the school board chamber and the hallways outside of the meeting as speakers continued to urge the board to offer fair compensation for our hard work.  See BFT’s Facebook page for photos.  

BFT Executive Officers Election

Voting is now open for BFT Executive Officers (President, Vice President, Treasurer and Executive Secretary) for 2013-2015. You should receive ballots no later than May 16th. All members are encouraged to vote! Ballots should be received in the BFT office by 5:00 p.m. on May 28th and can be sent through inter-district mail. (If you wish to use inter-district mail, it is recommended that you mail your ballot by May 22nd to arrive in time for counting.) 

WE CARE Survey, a Chance To Give Feedback About BUSD Services

BFT strongly encourages all members to take the “We Care” survey sent out last week via e-mail. This is your chance to speak about any experience you may have had with BUSD offices such as Benefits, Payroll, Human Resources, etc. The results of this survey will be reported to the School Board in August in public session and so this is a very important tool in our ongoing union efforts to improve the customer service, accuracy and timeliness of these district offices. Please find the link in an e-mail from Co-Superintendents Neil Smith and Javetta Cleveland

Don’t Forget to Request Course Approval for Summer Courses

If you plan to take summer courses to move over on the salary schedule and increase your compensation you must submit a BUSD course approval request before the course begins, but no later then two weeks after the start of the course.  The credits you earn will not count towards salary advancement unless you get prior approval!!  The form that is required is available on the BFT website.

Important Change in Childrearing Leave

BFT members are now able to use sick days as part of their childrearing leave AND THEN use days paid at the 25% rate of pay after using sick leave days.  These days must be consecutive with the date of the arrival of the child.  Up to 89 days of leave, including a combination of sick days and then 25%-pay days is available.  An updated, comprehensive FAQ on childrearing leave is available on the BFT web site.

Berkeley Teachers Honored at BPEF Luncheon

Congratulations to BHS teachers Tamara Friedman (World Languages) and Teri Goodman (Counselor) on their recognition as outstanding educators at the Berkeley Public Education Foundation Luncheon. At the luncheon, BPEF announced that it will now be known as the “Berkeley Public Schools Fund”.  We are proud to have had Teri and Tamara honored as exemplary teachers in Berkeley.

Support A Moratorium On High Stakes Testing – Email Arne Duncan TODAY!

Visit to tell Arne Duncan that teachers need a chance to implement adopted Common Core State Standards without high stakes testing. CCSS allow us to move away from rote memorization and endless test taking and instead teach problem solving, critical thinking, the ability to articulate thinking and teamwork. Tell our legislators that we need an opportunity to learn how to implement Common Core State Standards without them being sullied by test making companies. 

Summer Paycheck Information

STRS deductions are NOT deducted from July and August paychecks. This accounts for the discrepancy in summer paychecks. 

Julie Sinai Appointed to School Board 

At a Special Meeting on May 1, 2013, the Board of Education unanimously voted to appoint Julie Sinai, U.C. Berkeley’s Director of Local Government and Community Relations, to fill an 18-month vacancy on the Board. Julie Sinai has a long history of involvement with the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD), beginning with her role as the Director of School-Linked Programs for BUSD from 1999-2002. Her daughter is a junior at Berkeley High School and her son, a 2010 BHS graduate, is a senior at University of Michigan. Her children have been students at Rosa Parks, King, and Longfellow.

Are You Thinking About Retiring or Resigning From BUSD?

Are you planning to resign or retire from BUSD as of June 2013?  If so, please notify the BUSD Human Resources office as soon as possible.  Notification to BUSD will assist greatly in the rehiring of temporary teachers who were released in March.  If you wish to resign, the last day to unilaterally notify the Human Resources office is June 30, 2013. 

Event to Honor All Retiring Employees on Tuesday, June 4th

Berkeley Unified invites you to honor our district certificated and classified retirees. Join us in recognizing our colleagues’ years of service on June 4th, 4:00-6:00 p.m. at the King Middle School Dining Commons. Congratulations to this year’s retirees and thank you for your years of service!

BFT Executive Board Supports Immigration Reform

In a resolution passed at the April Executive Board meeting, BFT showed support for “compassionate and logical federal immigration policy”, urging President Barack Obama and members of Congress to take immediate action to enact an immigration policy that would enable all members of our community to return and/or to remain in our schools and our neighborhoods. Copies of the resolution were sent to the family of Rodrigo Guzman, as well as state and federal legislators. 

Calendar of Coming Events 

 May 20th  Malcolm X Day Holiday
 May 23rd Elementary School Open House
 May 27th  Memorial Day Holiday
 June 6th  Event to Honor BUSD Retirees;
 4:00 p.m. at King Middle School
 June 14th   Last Day of School