On May 3, 2010, BFT and BUSD met to negotiate on the District’s proposal of two furlough days for BFT members in 2010-2011. This proposal is part of a package of cuts recommended by District staff to close a $2.7 million deficit in the 2010-2011 budget. This deficit is caused by the governor’s proposed $2.5 billion cut in funding for public education next year (in addition to increased costs for materials and services and a negative state COLA for 2010-2011). The governor and legislature have cut public education by $18 billion in the last two years (08/09 and 09/10).
The District proposed that the October Staff Development day, and the mid-year Staff Development day (November for secondary teachers; January for elementary teachers) be designated as unpaid non-work days in the 2010-2011 school year. For Adult School teachers the District proposed that the first of the two August Staff Development days and the January Staff Development day be unpaid non-work days in 2010-2011.
The District has recommended that in the absence of a successful agreement on furlough days they will eliminate two programs at the Adult School: the Older Adult program (which consists of the Life-Long Learning Program for Adults 55+ and the Frail Elderly program at 13 community centers); and the Adults With Disabilities program (which provides program at a variety of community sites, including the East Bay Center for the Blind, the Creative Living Center and BORP). This will lead to the layoff of approximately 35 Adult School teachers and the closure of 86 class sections (including the elimination of most programming at our Berkeley senior centers). In addition, the District proposes to eliminate two more BHS counseling positions (two positions were eliminated in 2009-2010) if they cannot recoup significant savings through furloughs.
BFT made a very reasonable counter-proposal to the District at the May 3rd negotiations session. BUSD is considering this proposal and the two parties will meet again on May 27th. BFT’s proposal emphasizes the concept of shared sacrifice and the importance of professional development for teachers necessary to retain highly qualified staff and to achieve the 2020 Vision for Berkeley’s Children and Youth.
If you have a strong opinion on the District’s furlough proposal, it’s important for you to communicate with your Site Rep, or directly with BFT by emailing us at bft4tchrlmi.net. In particular, if you have a strong opinion about placing one or two furlough days on a student instructional day versus on a Staff Development day, it will help the BFT Negotiations Team to hear from you.
BFT has tentatively scheduled a general membership meeting for Thursday, June 3rd, in order to update our membership on these negotiations. This meeting would begin at 4pm and take place at the Berkeley Adult School multipurpose room. This meeting will be confirmed via a flier in your box and an “email blast” to the membership.