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October 2, 2015

In this issue: Membership Meeting on Financial Health, Know Your Rights with Admin, Benefits Open Enrollment, Personal Leave, the Sick Leave Bank, and more…

BFT Membership Meeting on Financial Health— THIS THURSDAY October 8th!

Do you know how to check your paycheck to ensure accuracy? Do you know your Step & Column and how to move over on the salary schedule, including using Inservice Credit? Have you started thinking about retirement? All these questions and many more will be answered at the first-ever BFT membership meeting on Teacher Financial Health! Thursday, October 8th, 4:00-5:15 at the Adult School MPR, 1701 San Pablo Ave. Join us!

Do You Know the Difference Between Personal Leave and Sick Leave?

All BFT members should know the difference between Personal Leave and Sick Leave, as BUSD is monitoring use of Personal Leave more closely than they have in the past. Personal Leave is for reasons like weddings, religious holidays, emergencies, illness or death in a member’s immediate family. This list is not exhaustive—check the Personal Leave FAQ on the BFT website for more details. Generally, if you’ll only be absent for a day or two, BFT recommends selecting Sick Leave in Aesop.

Enroll in the BFT Sick Leave Bank—Deadline October 30th!

The BFT/BUSD Sick Leave Bank was organized to generate a pool of sick leave days to be available to qualified applicants toward long-term leave in the event of a prolonged illness or injury. Enrolling in the Sick Leave Bank is both completely voluntary and a great opportunity for BFT members.  Enrollment is open for the month of October—see your Site Rep if you don’t know whether you’re enrolled or if you need a form.

Would You Like a Hard Copy of the New BFT/BUSD Contract?

The new contract, fully updated for the 2015-2017 school years, is available and searchable on the BFT website. However, any BFT member who would like a paper copy of the new contract need only email BFT at bftoffice@lmi.net and we’ll send you a copy in district mail.

Transcripts for Salary Advancement Due FRIDAY, November 13th

If you have completed new units and plan to advance on the salary schedule, official transcripts are due to Human Resources by November 13th—start planning now!  Check the BFT FAQ page for an important resource under “Course Approval and Salary Advancement.”  Remember that you must submit sealed, official transcripts to HR.  Ask your Site Rep if you have any questions.

Join the Downtown YMCA with No Registration Fee!

All BFT members are eligible to join the Y without maying the $99 enrollment fee during the month of October. You can also try out the Berkeley YMCA for FREE during the week of 10/8-10/18. To join, just go to the Downtown Berkeley Y with a photo ID and your BFT membership card. If you don’t have a membership card, please call BFT at 549-2307.

Open Enrollment For Health Benefits Through October 30th

BUSD employees should have received Open Enrollment packets in the mail at the start of the month.  If you did not, information can be found on BUSD’s website at www.berkeley.net. We encourage people making changes not to wait until Friday, October 30th to turn in your paperwork.

Open Enrollment for Flexible Spending, Parking, and/or Transit Spending Accounts

Flexible Spending Accounts allow an employee to set aside pre-tax dollars for certain health and childcare related expenses. Parking and Transit Spending Accounts allow an employee to set aside pre-tax dollars for parking or transit costs related to their commute to work.  Open enrollment for FSAs is currently taking place until Oct. 30th. Employees who are currently enrolled will need to submit a new application even if they are not making any changes.  Visit www.berkeley.net and click on “Teachers and Staff” for more information about benefits.

New Berkeley Public Schools Fund “Friends & Family” Grants Up & Running!

The Berkeley Public Schools Fund has a new, ongoing grant opportunity for the 2015-2016 school year. It’s called “Friends & Family Grants” and it’s similar to Donors Choose but just to BUSD teachers and staff. So far this year they’ve already dispersed more than $2100 in successful grants. Find more information at berkeleypublicschoolsfund.org.

FAQ of the Month: Your Rights When Meeting With an Administrator

Do you know when you have the right to a union representative in a meeting with a supervisor?  Do you know what your union representative’s role in such a meeting is?  Answers to these and other very important questions can be found in BFT’s FAQ, available now on the BFT website’s FAQ page.

Don’t Fall Victim to the October Slog!

This is the longest stretch of the year without a holiday, and it’s often the roughest time of the year in terms of confidence, satisfaction, and stress.  Don’t forget that BUSD employees have access to a free, confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) from MHN.  Their counselors can help with financial, legal, emotional, or work-related issues.  Log on to members.mhn.com (company code: busd) or call 800-535-4985 for more information.

Calendar of Coming Events

 October 12 All-Day Staff PD
 October 23 End of 1st Grading Period for K-8
 October 30 End of 1st Quarter for Thanksgiving Holiday
 October 30 Last Day of Open Enrollment for BUSD Benefits AND Sick Leave Bank
 November 2-5 K-5 Parent Teacher Conferences (shortened days)
 November 3-5 Middle School Parent Teacher Conferences
 November 6 K-5 Parent Teacher Conferences (no school for students) & Secondary Staff Development Day
 November 11 Veterans Day Holiday
 November 22 Berkeley Half-Marathon & 5K
 November 25-27  Thanksgiving Holiday