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November 22, 2013

In this issue: Inequality for All screening at Longfellow on December 5th, Big Victory for Secondary Math, CFT Scholarship Applications, Upcoming Deadlines for Leaves of Absence, Sabbaticals, Retirement Bonuses, and more…

Screening of Inequality for All—December 5th at Longfellow Middle School

BFT, along with our sister union BCCE and the Peralta Federation of Teachers, is hosting a screening of Robert Reich’s documentary Inequality for All at 7:00 on December 5th at Longfellow Middle School, 1500 Derby St.  Tickets are sliding scale $5-10 and all proceeds benefit the Berkeley Schools Fund.  All members are encouraged to attend to gain new insight and tools in the fight for income inequality.


Berkeley High teacher and renowned artist Miriam Stahl has designed a limited edition BFT t-shirt inspired by Julie Searle’s BFT sunflower and union artwork of yore. Only $5-10, they will be available for purchase beginning at the December 5th screening of Inequality for All. Get them while they last!  

HUGE Victory for Secondary Math!

At its November 13th meeting, the BUSD School Board voted unanimously to approve changes to secondary math that eliminate tracked classes in Berkeley middle schools and that adopt the International Pathway for high school math.  This organizing effort on the part of BFT members, principals, parents, community members, and BUSD staff has vaulted BUSD to the national forefront of equitable math instruction.  Congratulations to everyone involved!

Important Town Hall on Local Control Accountability Plan on December 3rd

BUSD will be holding a town hall meeting at 7:00PM on December 3rd at LeConte Elementary School, 2241 Russell St.  The Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) is a new accountability structure created under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) passed by the CA Legislature as part of the 13-14 budget.  All members are encouraged to attend and give input on how BUSD should improve the services we provide to English Learners, foster youth, and students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch.

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, 2014. Applications can be found at, or call the BFT office (549-2307) and we will send you a copy. 

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,

Do You Plan to Retire Next Year?  $1000 Bonus Available for Early Notification

Teachers who formally notify BUSD in writing prior to February 7, 2014, that they plan to retire at the end of the current school year will receive a $1000 bonus.  To notify BUSD, teachers should use the Separation Form available on the BFT website and scan it into an email to Evelyn Bradley at
Veteran Teachers:  Mark Your Calendar for STRS Workshop on January 9th
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 9th at 4:00 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room at the Berkeley Adult School, 1701 San Pablo Ave. (at Virginia).  

Request to Extend Current Leave of Absence Due February 1st

If you are currently working part-time and have a part-time leave of absence arrangement which you wish to continue for next year, or if you are currently on a full-time leave of absence and wish to continue the full-time leave of absence next year, you need to submit the BUSD Leave of Absence form and a cover letter explaining your request by February 1st. BUSD is not required to grant extensions, but may do so.  If you intend to return to full-time teaching next year, you must notify BUSD by February 1st. 

Are You Considering a Leave of Absence for Next Year?

Eligible teachers who plan to request a full-time unpaid leave of absence for the 2014-2015 school year must notify the Human Resources Office by March 1st to have the leave automatically granted (Article 12.1.2 of the BFT/BSUD Contract). We strongly recommend that you check the FAQ on the BFT website for more information.  The Leave of Absence Request form is on our website under “Resources-Forms”.

Are You Considering a Sabbatical Leave for Next Year?

The BFT/BUSD contract provides for partially-paid sabbatical leaves for teachers who have worked at least ten years in BUSD.  (Article 12.12) Applications are due by March 1st. Check the FAQ on the BFT website ( for more information.  The Leave of Sabbatical Request form is on our website under “Resources-Forms”. 

Is Your Sick Leave Balance Correct?

All full-time BFT members receive 11 Sick Days each year; part-time teachers receive a pro-rated balance.  Additionally, if you worked in another district before coming to BUSD your Sick Leave balance should have transferred with you.  Add up the Sick Leave days you’ve received each year in BUSD plus any days that transferred with you, subtract a rough count of days you’ve used and check that against the balance on your November paystub.  If it seems like there is a vast discrepancy, contact the BFT office for assistance at

Calendar of Coming Events

December 3        BUSD LCAP Town Hall, 7:00PM @ LeConte Elementary
December 5        Screening of Inequality for All, 7:00PM @ Longfellow MS
December 21-
    January 5 Winter Break
January 9 STRS Workshop for Veteran Teachers, 4:00PM @ Adult School
January 10 Deadline for CFT Raoul Teilhet Scholarship Applications