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BFT Action - December 3rd, 2017

In this issue: STRS Retirement Membership Meeting, BFT Endorses Judy Appel, Leave of Absence Info and more...
BFT Action--December 2017
BFT Endorses Judy Appel for AD-15 State Assembly Race
BFT is proud to endorse Judy Appel for Assembly District 15. As an experienced School Board member, Judy understands the challenges that public education faces, and is ready to be a strong advocate for schools, educators and students. Judy's proven track record of commitment to closing equity gaps and to finding real resources and strategies to improve school climate will make her a powerful voice in Sacramento.
BFT Submits an Amicus Curiae Brief 
The BFT Grievance Committee has approved an expenditure of Union funds so that BFT can file an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief supporting  the recent lawsuit filed against BUSD regarding the California Public Records Act request made by Judicial Watch.  

An amicus brief is an opportunity for a third party (in this case BFT) to formally support plaintiffs and to offer their perspective to the Court. We stand with our members at King against this new threat, and will emphasize our members’ right to safety and to free speech and free association, as well as our student and employees’ rights to privacy.  We will emphasize the serious disruption to the learning environment caused by this request and and the consequences that will incur from this scrutiny of professional communications.  

As the right-wing attack on unions and working people escalates, including an upcoming Supreme Court decision making it more difficult to retain union members, BFT needs to increase member engagement and knowledge of our Union and the vital role that BFT plays in improving working conditions and fighting for public education.  In addition, we need to be as strong as we can be as a union as we head into contract negotiations next year.  This position will help with outreach, 1:1 conversations with members, organizing phone banks, and communications.  

This is a GREAT way to learn new skills, to strengthen our Union and to get to know colleagues from many sites.

There is a stipend of up to $2600 available, with an expectation of four hours of work per week. There may be release time available; please apply and include interest in release time on your application.

The deadline to apply is December 14th. Find out more information here.


BFT Accomplishments

  • New Xerox machines EARLY at all sites

  • Member activism at the Superintendent Budget Advisory Council and School Board meetings throughout October and November

  • Compensation for members impacted by large class sizes in 1st - 3rd grades

BFT's Teachers of Color Network Advocates for Hiring and Retaining Teachers of Color
TOCN Facilitator's Gloria Munoz-Hughes and Lucero Lupercio spoke to BUSD School Board on November 15th about the importance of hiring teachers of color. They advocated for the hiring timeline to be moved up to ensure that BUSD does not lose out on opportunities to hire teachers of color. Additionally, they spoke of the importance of making sure there is a classified pathway in BUSD to opportunities for classified staff to become BUSD teachers. You can read their speeches here and watch a video of this speech here.
Veteran Teachers Mark Your Calendars!
STRS Workshop, January 11th!

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 11th at 4:00 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room at the Berkeley Adult School, 1701 San Pablo Ave. (at Virginia).

Need a New BFT T-Shirt?
BFT has new T-shirts designed by BFT member Julie Searle available in most sizes. If you would like one, send a $10 check made out to BFT through intradistrict mail to the BFT office. Please note if you want a women's or unisex shirt, the size, and your school site. If you have any questions, email BFT Vice President Matt Meyer.
Are You Considering a Sabbatical or Leave of Absence for 2017-2018?
Eligible teachers who plan to apply for a sabbatical leave or request a full-time unpaid leave of absence for the 2018-2019 school year must notify Human Resources of their intentions by March 1st. Under Article 12.1.2 of the BFT/BUSD Contract, Leave of Absence requests submitted by March 1st are automatically granted. We strongly recommend reading the Sabbatical FAQ and Leave of Absence FAQ on the BFT website for more information. The Sabbatical application and  Leave of Absence Request Form are also available on our website. 

If you are currently on full or part-time leave you need to notify BUSD of your plans for 2018-2019 by February 1st, 2018.

REMINDER: Please Do NOT “Rate” Subs in Aesop
When you are absent and your class has a substitute teacher, you may get an email from Aesop asking for feedback on your sub.  Please DO NOT use this function to express concerns.  Please see your administrator with any concerns.  Whenever possible, please also contact the sub directly.
A Reverence for Words: Understanding Muslim Cultures through the Arts for Secondary Teachers 
This is a two-week professional development opportunity hosted by the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholars Institute July 15th - July 27th in New York City. (Click here for more information on eligibility.) The institute will examine the high regard for poetry and its relationship to music and visual arts in several cultures of the Muslim world, both historically and in contemporary society. It draws on the arts from the Arab world, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and West Africa to give teachers, and ultimately their students, an opportunity to deepen their understanding and knowledge of Muslim cultures and the contributions of Islamic civilizations to world literature, history, and culture. There is a $2100 stipend associated with the program.

Reminder:  December certificated paychecks will be directly deposited or available for pick up at your site on January 2nd, 2018.


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. It is CRITICAL that you check your 11/30 sick leave.  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 30th pay stub. If it seems like there is a discrepancy, please email Paisley Dews at with a cc to your Site Rep.
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 and seniors and continuing college students).  The CFT Raoul Teilhet scholarship applications for high school seniors are due January 10, 2018 and can be found here. For students already in college, the due date is July 1st, 2018 and the application can be found here.
Do You Plan to Retire Next Year? $1000 Bonus Available for Early Notification
Teachers who formally notify BUSD in writing prior to February 7, 2018 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 Retirement form available on the BFT website and scan it into an email to Evelyn Bradley at
Contacting BFT by Email

Members: With the exception of sensitive matters, please cc your Site Reps on all emails to so that there is full communication.  This will ensure that you get the information and assistance you need promptly.  Thanks!

Calendar of Coming Events
12/16/16-1/1/17 Winter Break
1/10/18 Deadline for CFT Raoul Teilhet Scholarship Application
1/11/18 STRS Workshop for Veteran Teachers--4:00PM, Berkeley Adult School
Berkeley Federation of Teachers, CFT/AFT, AFL-CIO

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