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BFT Action - April 16th, 2017

In this issue: May 1st Action Coming Up, SBA Information, Joining SDI, and more...
BFT Action--April 2017
Resist the Trump Agenda on May 1st!
On May 1st, immigrants' rights activists and labor groups will be taking action across the United States to resist the Trump agenda and stand up for immigrant rights. This administration poses a grave threat to the health and safety of many members of our communities, as well as to the very nature of public education itself. We hope ALL BFT members will join in, whether you choose to come to work or not.

For those members who choose not to come to work, there are actions taking place at Justin Herman Plaza at 11:00AM and at Fruitvale BART starting at 3:00PM. If you choose not to come to work on May 1st, you should record your absence in Aesop as soon as possible and list Personal Leave--"May 1st Political Action" as your reason.

There will also be actions taking place at every school site in BUSD on May 1st--many locations will do "walk-in" activities before school or something at lunch. Talk to your Site Rep about how you can get involved!

SBA Season is Upon Us Again...

As we enter another season of SBA testing, it's as important as ever that we in BUSD keep testing in proper perspective and minimize its disruptive impacts on our most vital work: teaching our students to be informed, empowered, active citizens in the 21st century. Many members don't know that much of the decision making around SBA administration happens at the site level--if you haven't had a staff or leadership team meeting to discuss SBA administration, now's the time! 

For instance:

  • What support services or interventions do we want to ensure continue during testing? How can we make that happen?
  • Is it possible to keep the library open, even for parts of the day?
  • What should teachers at our site do if there are technology issues? How can we work to lessen the emotional strain of testing on our students?
Negotiations Question: Should We Join State Disability Insurance?
As part of BFT's ongoing work to better support our members, we've begun a conversation about joining California's State Disability Insurance. Doing so would provide our members access to both short-term disability insurance and Paid Family Leave, but would also require all BFT members to pay a 0.9% premium to help fund the program.

Much more information can be found in our presentation on the topic, available here. If you haven't yet had a meeting on this topic at your site, your Site Rep will be scheduling one very soon. It's important that they hear from you with comments, questions, or concerns so they can provide input to the Negotiations Team in the coming weeks and months. You can also email questions or comments to BFT Vice President John Becker at

Bringing Social Justice Into the Classroom: BAWP Film Series
The Bay Area Writing Project has two amazing events coming up:
- A free screening of Ava DuVernay's documentary 13th on Friday, April 21st, at 6:30PM at the Ellen Driscoll Playhouse, 345 Highland Ave. in Piedmont. This screening will be followed by discussion with Dr. Medina Abdullah, Professor and Chair of Pan-African Studies at CSULA and interviewee in 13th.

- Teacher workshops on Saturday, April 22nd, at 8:30AM in the Tolman Hall Education Library at UC Berkeley. Workshops will be framed around the film, exploring how to engage students, colleagues, and families in issues raised by 13th. Workshop registration is $30. 

Much more information can be found on the Bay Area Writing Project website.

Berkeley Public Schools Fund Honors Longfellow Teacher Matt Hinckley!
This year's Schools Fund Luncheon is on Friday, May 12th and is themed "Be a Scientist." Appropriately, they're honoring this year's Educator of the year: Longfellow Science Teacher Matt Hinckley! Congratulations Matt--you deserve it!
Are You Interested in a Reduced Workload Leave, aka a "Willie Brown" Leave?
A Reduced Workload Leave (RWL) allows a teacher to work part-time but still receive BUSD contributions to STRS and benefits as though they were working full-time. To be eligible, a teacher must be at least 55 years old and have worked in a certificated position for at least 10 years, with the last 5 years full-time. Teachers can take RWL up to 0.50FTE under state law, and the deadline for notifying BUSD HR is July 15, 2017. For more information, check out our Reduced Workload Leave FAQ or email BFT President Cathy Campbell at
Time's Running Out to Run for BFT Office!
Nominations for BFT President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary close at the May 4th membership meeting. You should have received nomination forms in your mailbox--if you did not receive one please contact your Site Rep to get one. 
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.
Don't Forget Course Approval!

If you plan to take summer coursework to move over on the salary schedule and increase your compensation, you must submit a BUSD course approval request no later than two weeks after the start of the course. The credits you earn will NOT count towards salary advancement unless you get prior approval. See our FAQ on the subject for more details. 

Interested in a Job Share?
If you are a K-5 teacher interested in a job share for 2017-2018, please contact BFT at 549-2307 or so we can connect you with other teachers seeking job shares!
Voluntary Transfer Rights in BFT/BUSD Contract
The BFT/BUSD contract provides teachers the right to request a voluntary transfer to an open position at a different school so long as as they have a positive evaluation and meet certain criteria (e.g. certification, credential, minimum years experience, specialized training, etc.). If you have questions about how to make use of your rights in the area please contact BFT President Cathy Campbell at or 549-2307. You should also make sure to carefully monitor certificated job postings in your email. 
Calendar of Coming Events
4/20/17 BFT Executive Board
4/24/17 BFT/BUSD Negotiations Session
5/1/17 Mayday--Political Actions Across the Bay Area!
5/3/17 BUSD School Board Mobilization--MARK YOUR CALENDAR!
5/4/17 BFT Membership Meeting at Berkeley Adult School MPR, 4:30PM
Berkeley Federation of Teachers, CFT/AFT, AFL-CIO

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(510) 549-2307 
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