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October 20, 2011

In this issue: BFT Political Organizer Job Opening, Benefits Open Enrollment Ends October 31st, TWI Task Force, Teacher Recognitions, FAQs, and more….

BFT Political Action Committee Organizer (PAC) Position Now Open for Applications

With California severely under-funding education and with wealth inequality constantly increasing in our nation, it is critical that local unions invest resources to organize, educate and agitate. Through joint funding from the BFT Political Action Committee and the California Federation of Teachers, BFT has created a political organizer position to help with this work. All BFT members are encouraged to apply. Please see BFT’s website for job description and compensation, and do not hesitate to contact BFT with any questions. Applications are due to BFT by November 7th.

Open Enrollment for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)

Flexible Spending Accounts allow an employee to set aside pre-tax dollars for certain health and childcare-related expenses. Open enrollment for FSAs is currently taking place until October 31st. Employees who are currently enrolled will need to submit a new application even if they are not making any changes.

Open Enrollment for Health Benefits Ends October 31st

Open enrollment is the time to make any benefits changes or additions, and this period ends on Monday, October 31st. In order to make a change you must fill out a change/enrollment form, which you can get at the BUSD Benefits office. Before submitting your form we HIGHLY recommend making a copy. Members are advised to hand deliver their forms and to ask for a receipt.

Did You Know That This Is the Longest Stretch of the Year Without a Holiday?

Late fall is often the time of the year when teachers feel the most stress and the least satisfaction and confidence. Don’t forget that BUSD employees have access to a FREE, confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) from Horizon Health. Horizon counselors can help with financial, legal, emotional or work issues. Call 1-800-342-8111 or go to (Login: BUSD34, Password: eap).

November 15th Deadline to Turn in Transcripts for Salary Schedule Advancement

If you have completed new units and plan to advance on the salary schedule, you must turn in official (sealed) transcripts of the new units to the Human Resources office by November 15th.

Work Towards Eliminating Cuts to Education and Taxing the Rich

BFT members have two great opportunities in the next month to get educated and active in the fight to create a fair taxation system in our state. All members are encouraged to mark their calendars to attend a Tax the Rich Conference sponsored by BFT, the Oakland Education Association, the Alameda Labor Council and others. The conference will occur on Saturday, November 19th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Claremont Middle School in Oakland near the Rockridge BART station. On Saturday, October 29th at 10:00 a.m. Berkeley City College will have a teach-in and town hall meeting to organize, share ideas and voice questions. See for more information.

Compensation for Classroom Moves

Teachers who are required by district administrators, including principals and vice-principals, to move classrooms are entitled to receive up to twelve hours of pay at the curriculum development rate. We recommend that you keep a copy of the time sheet you turn in to your administrator.

What Are My Rights in the Evaluation Process?

An easy-to-use FAQ with the answer to this question, along with many others, is available on the BFT website under “Resources- Fliers and FAQs.” Temporary and Probationary teachers with questions about the evaluation process are advised to call BFT at 549-2037.

Superintendent's Two-Way Immersion Task Force Underway

A study of the Bilingual and Two-Way Immersion (TWI) programs that was presented to the School Board in May, 2011 recommended the formation of a working group to plan the consolidation of the district's elementary TWI program into one school site. The TWI Task Force has been established with representation of teachers, parents, and administrators from the elementary schools with bilingual and TWI programs: Rosa Parks, Cragmont, LeConte, and Thousand Oaks. Minutes of the Task Force meetings and other related documents are available on the BUSD web site.

School Board Recognizes BFT Educators for Teacher-Led Inquiry

On Wednesday, September 21st BUSD School Board members publicly recognized Sarah Cline, Merlyn Katechis, and Michael Hammond in the Music Department, and Michelle Contreras, Kathleen Gadway, and Tracey Iglehart at Rosa Parks Elementary for their participation in Mills Teachers Scholars, a program that facilitates teacher-led professional learning.

Talented BFT Member’s Art Show

Substitute Teacher Sonia Gill is showing her work as part of the "Rhythm & Light" show at the Olive Hyde Art Gallery in Fremont October14th-November 12th. Check out her beautiful paintings at

Elementary Parent Conference Dates and Requirements

Shortened days for elementary parent conferences will be held on November 4-9, 2011. Classroom teachers have the option of not being on site for all or part of the non-instructional parent conference day on Thursday, November 10th, provided they present a schedule to the principal in which all parent conferences will be completed before that day. Non-classroom teachers such as music, science, Special Ed and TSA’s, are required to report on the non-instructional day.

Calendar of Coming Events

October 28  End of First Grading Period 
October 31 Last Day of Open Enrollment 
November 4-9  K-5 Parent Teacher Conferences (shortened days) 
November 7-9  Middle School Parent Teacher Conferences 
November 10  K-5 Parent Teacher Conferences (no school for students) 
November 10  Secondary Staff Development Day 
November 11  Veterans Day Holiday