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Nov 16, 2010

In this issue: BFT Wins in 2010 Election, Members Volunteer In Large Numbers, December Paycheck Distribution Information, College Scholarships Available, and more…

BFT Meets Every Single One of Our 2010 Election Goals

As you know, on November 2nd Jerry Brown and Prop 25 were victorious and both Measures H and I passed with resounding majorities. In addition, in a very competitive race, ALL three of the BFT-endorsed candidates for School Board won! We have elected Board members who will work collaboratively with BFT and other Unions as we face the challenges ahead. And, we have done our part to move our state toward a government that can work to provide the revenues and services that are needed in a civilized society.

Over 150 BFT Members Volunteer During 2010 Campaign

BFT wants to thank each and every one of the over 150 rank and file volunteers for the tremendous role you played in affecting the outcome of the election. We have shown once again that when BFT endorses a candidate or measure this comes with work, volunteers, energy and commitment, and that our endorsement matters to members of our community. Thank you for the work you did to educate our members and community on the issues and candidates.

Watch For Upcoming 2011-2012 Calendar Survey

BFT will conduct a very short survey regarding the 2011-2012 Calendar. Late November, look for information about how to complete the survey online at Survey Monkey. BFT values its members input so please participate so your voice can be heard.

Open Enrollment for Flexible Spending Accounts

The time to enroll in an FSA account is November 17th-December 8th, 2010. Look for information from the Benefits office to arrive in your boxes soon.

Changes in Flexible Spending Account Rule Re: Reimbursement for OTC Drugs

As of January 1, 2011 the cost of over-the-counter drugs can no longer be claimed against a Flexible Spending Account unless they are prescribed by a doctor. If over-the-counter drugs are prescribed by a doctor, you may submit them for reimbursement. However, you may not purchase them with your Pay Flex debit card, instead you will need to submit a claim with a receipt and an Rx number. Members should carefully weigh these new rules in deciding how much to contribute to their FSA in calendar year 2011. For more information you can go to an IRS Frequently Asked Questions on this topic at http://tinyurl.com/2bysr5k.

College Scholarships Available - Deadline to Apply Is January 10th

The AFT and CFT offer several college scholarship opportunities for children of union members (both high school seniors and continuing college students). The CFT Raoul Teilhet scholarship applications for high school seniors are due January 10, 2011. Applications can be found at www.cft.org, or call the BFT office (549-2307) and we will send you a copy.

Did You Change Columns This Year? Check Your November Paycheck Carefully

BFT recommends that you check to make sure your new position on the salary schedule is reflected in your paycheck. Salary schedules are available on the BFT website, berkeleyfederationofteachers.org. If you were not paid correctly, use the Help Guide (also on the BFT website) to find the most effective way to solve the problem. BFT will gladly assist if the problem persists.

December Paycheck Distribution Information

December certificated paychecks will be directly deposited on January 3, 2010. Teachers who pick up their checks can get them at school sites on Monday, January 3rd. Checks that are sent through postal mail will be mailed no later than January 2nd. Due to occasional difficulties with checks in postal mail, BFT strongly recommends that teachers sign up for direct deposit.

Veteran Teachers: Mark Your Calendar for STRS Workshop on January 13th

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 13, 2011 at 4 pm in the Multipurpose Room at the Berkeley Adult School, 1701 San Pablo Ave. (at Virginia).

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.

Are You Planning to Take Courses Next Semester? Course Approval Needed

In order to receive credit for salary schedule advancement, teachers MUST submit requests for prior course approval to the BUSD Human Resources Department on the required form. This form is available under “Schedules” on the BFT website, berkeleyfederationofteachers.org.

CFT Convention in March-Nominations Open for Delegates

The annual CFT Convention will be held in Los Angeles March 18-20, 2011. Any BFT member is eligible to run as a delegate. Look for a nomination form in January, and feel free to contact BFT if you have any questions. If more than nominations are received than the number of delegates approved by the BFT Executive Board, an election will be held in February.

BFT Members Participate in Educational Research

Jessica Quindel, Kimberley D’Adamo, and Jen Corn presented their research at BUSD’s Educational Research Symposium in October. Congratulations! Our profession is enhanced by the inquiry these members engaged in and we are proud of their work.

Calendar of Coming Events


November 24-26 Thanksgiving Holiday
December 2BFT Executive Board Meeting @ Oregon Street
December 20 Winter Recess Begins
January 3 Classes Resume
January 13 STRS Workshop for Veteran Teachers @ Adult School
January 20 BFT Executive Board Meeting @ Oregon Street