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May 8, 2015

In this issue: BFT Elections, Join the BFT Organizing Team, Take the SBA Survey, Site Rep Nominations and more…

BFT Members Come Out in Force on May 6th

BFT Members came out HUGE to the May 6th BUSD School Board meeting! Sharon Arthur, Beth Sonnenberg, Yvette Felarca, Susi Lopez-Platt, Liliana Aguas, and BFT President Cathy Campbell all spoke forcefully about the need for fair compensation that outpaces the cost of living in the Bay Area, in defense of K-5 instructional minutes, and about the amazing work that our brothers and sisters do across the district. With amazing art created by King teacher Julie Searle and a banner by BHS teacher Eric Norberg, more than 200 BFT members urged the BUSD School Board to come to a fair, competitive contract agreement before the end of the 14-15 school year. A BIG thank you to everyone who came out! Look for a Negotiations Update in your mailbox soon—our final negotiations session this year is Wednesday, May 27th.

Membership Meeting on Negotiations on May 28th

BFT has scheduled a membership meeting on Thursday, May 28th at 4:00 p.m. at the Adult School multipurpose room in order to present a tentative agreement, if one is reached, or to talk about next steps if no agreement is reached with BUSD at the May 27th negotiations session.  This meeting will be from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Please plan to attend!

BFT Executive Officers Election

Voting is now open for BFT Executive Officers—President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Executive Secretary—for 2015-2017. You should receive ballots no later than May 22. All members are encouraged to vote! Ballots should be received in the BFT office by 5:00PM on June 3, and can be sent through inter-district mail. If you wish to use inter-district mail, we recommend you mail your ballot by May 27th to ensure it arrives in time for counting.

Join the BFT Organizing Team!

Are you interested in doing important political organizing work, on behalf of members and as part of the larger fight for social justice? Do you enjoy creative mischief? Do you have strong ideas about where public schools should be going? Do you like working as part of a fierce team of highly intelligent people? Does the idea of a $5200 stipend sound good to you? Join the BFT Organizing Team! Applications are open until May 22, 2015—to apply, send a cover letter and resume to BFT President Cathy Campbell, either through district mail or at bft4tchr@lmi.net. The job posting is available on the BFT website.

Want to Get More Involved? Nominate Yourself for BFT Site Rep!

The BFT Executive Board is made up of representatives from every school site in BUSD, as well as every SLC and department at Berkeley High School. It is the main decision-making body in our union, and influences everything from political endorsements to organizing campaigns to the structure of our health benefits. Nomination forms are due to the BFT office by 5:00PM on May 12 and can be scanned to bft4tchr@lmi.net.

Berkeley Teachers Honored at BPSF Luncheon

Congratulations to BHS teachers Mama Naomi Washington (Dance and African American Studies at BHS) and John Fike (BTA), and Garden Teacher Matt Tsang (Willard Middle School) on their recognition as outstanding educators at the Berkeley Public Schools Fund Luncheon on May 8th. We are proud to have Naomi, John, and Matt honored as exemplary teachers in Berkeley.

Please Take BFT’s Survey on the “Operational” SBA Test

This year’s “operational” SBA testing has begun—it’s extremely important that all BFT members who administer the SBA Test take our survey—it will be integral to informing BFT’s position on and response to the SBA in the 2015-2016 school year.

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 required form is available on the BFT website.

Summer Paycheck Deductions

Just a reminder that STRS is NOT deducted from July and August paychecks. This accounts for the discrepancy in summer paychecks.

Gender Spectrum Professionals’ Symposium & Conference July 10-12, 2015

Gender Spectrum is a fabulous organization dedicated to creating gender sensitive environments for children and teens—their trainings are uniformly profound and useful for teachers. Their annual Professionals’ Symposium and Conference will take place at St. Mary’s College in Moraga from July 10th to July 12th—registration is open now. For more information, check out www.genderspectrum.org.

Are You Thinking About Retiring or Resigning From BUSD?

Are you planning to resign or retire from BUSD as of June 2015? 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, 2015.

Are You Interested in a Job Share for Next Year?

If you are a K-5 teacher interested in a job share for 2015-2016, please contact BFT at bft4tchr@lmi.net so we can connect you with other teachers seeking job shares.

Event to Honor All Retiring Employees on June 2, 2015

Berkeley Unified Schools invites you to honor our district certificated and classified retirees. Join us in recognizing our colleagues’ years of service on June 2nd, 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!

Calendar of Coming Events

 May 18th Malcolm X Day Holiday
 May 21st Elementary School Open House
 May 25th Memorial Day Holiday
 May 28th BFT membership meeting and negotiations update
 June 2nd Event to Honor BUSD Retirees; 4:00 p.m. at King Middle School
 June 12th Last Day of School
 July 10-12 Gender Spectrum Professionals’ Symposium and Conference