Back to top

BFT Action - January 31st, 2018

In this issue: Women's March, Teacher of Color Network, March 8th Membership Meeting, Important Deadlines, and more...
View this email in your browser
BFT Action--February 2018
Protest Cuts to School Sites at the February School Board Meetings
BFT is fighting back against budget cuts proposed at the SITE LEVEL for 2018-2019, in collaboration with BCCE, the Berkeley PTA Council and the BHS PTSA.  We are asking all K-5, TK and Preschool members to attend the February 7th School Board meeting to protest the cut proposed at Malcolm X, and we are asking all Secondary and Adult School teachers to attend on February 21st to protest the cuts proposed to BHS.  

If your site is not proposed for a cut next year it is entirely possible that a cut at your site will be proposed for 2019-2020.  It’s important that we stand together to preserve our schools.  In both cases we are asking members to attend from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Board chambers at 1231 Addison Street (around the corner from the 202 Bonar Street building).   Please wear your BFT t-shirt to these meetings!


BFT's Teacher of Color Network Speaks to the School Board
On January 24th, over 100 BFT members came to the School Board meeting to support the Teachers of Color Network in demanding an expedited hiring timeline in order to attract and hire teachers of color for the next school year. They spoke about the importance of having teachers of color in the classroom and gave concrete ideas on how to increase and retain the number of teachers of color in our district. You can read the speeches here.
BFT Sponsoring Backpack Full of Cash March 1st

BFT is sponsoring a screening of the new documentary Backpack Full of Cash on March 1st, 2018 at 6:00 pm at Longfellow Middle School. The address is 1500 Derby Street. Pizza will be served at 5:30 pm. Tickets are sliding scale $5 - $10 and benefits the Berkeley Public Schools Fund. Please join us in learning about how privatization is threatening our public schools and the work being done to resist. See the trailer here.

Membership Meeting: Understanding The BUSD Budget
March 8th at 4 pm at the Adult School

BFT will be presenting information on how BUSD receives money from the state, how BUSD allocates resources, and what it will take to increase revenues available for compensation. The more we are informed, the more effective our upcoming contract campaign will be. 

Additionally, there will be a speaker from the Make It Fair campaign (Prop 13 reform) briefly explaining the importance of this potential 2018 ballot measure that will bring increased revenue to the state and for schools. 

This meeting will be at 4:00 in the Multipurpose Room at Berkeley Adult School, with snacks provided. (There is no Membership meeting on February 8th.)

BFT At The 2018 Women's March
Vote for the 2018 CFT Convention BFT Delegates by February 8th
Please vote for up to 3 BFT delegates to the CFT convention. All ballots must be received to the BFT office by 5 pm on February 8th. Ballot forms are available here if you do not have one. Be sure to write your name and signature on the outside of your envelope.
Special Berkeley Rep Discount and Event for BFT Union Members - Office Hour, a play by Julia Cho
Being a BFT Union member comes with many benefits, including local discounts and special events.  For example, on Thursday, February 22nd BFT members can attend Berkeley Repertory’s showing of Office Houra play by Julia Cho, and receive a 20% discount on tickets and an invitation to a special pre-show event with the playwright or with the director of this production.  The show starts at 8pm and the pre-show event will begin at 7pm.  Tickets can be purchased for as little as $24 with this promotion code.  To confirm that you are a BFT member and to get the promo code please call BFT at 549-2307, or send us an email at and we will respond quickly.

Office Hour tells the story of Dennis, a sullen student who has his fellow students and professors on edge, and his writing instructor who seeks to break through his silence and earn his trust during an office visit.  The results are shocking.  A deeply personal story of empathy and redemption, Office Hour explores otherness and paranoia while revealing our essential human need for connection.  This play will speak strongly to us as educators.


The California Federation of Teachers and the California Teachers Association have both endorsed Judy Appel for CA-15 State Representative.
Our Union At Work For Members
  • BFT is aware that the current shortage of substitutes, and the obstacles to becoming a BUSD substitute, have a major impact on members and on teaching and learning.  BFT is prioritizing this issue and has made progress in reducing BUSD barriers.  BUSD can now issue sub permits (meaning that subs do not have to travel to Hayward), and the document burden of applying has been reduced.  In addition, soon subs will be “onboarded” digitally so that they can enter the BUSD sub pool more quickly.
  • BFT was a strong voice for preserving some site choice and space for the arts in the recent decision on the use of new prep periods next year in Grades 1-3.
  • There was high participation in the BFT survey on the 2018-2019 calendar and an agreement reflecting our members’ wishes was reached with BUSD.       
  • BFT is fighting hard for an earlier hiring timeline and for eligibility pools in hard-to-staff credential areas.
Automatic Leave of Absence Deadline is March 1st
If you have achieved permanent status and have worked in BUSD for at least three years, you're eligible for an automatically granted, full-time Leave of Absence for next year. If you want to apply for a Leave and have it automatically approved, you must submit a Leave of Absence Request Form to Human Resources by March 1st. We strongly recommend you check out the Leave of Absence FAQ on the BFT website.

Note that you should submit your form via email to Evelyn Bradley, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and Brent Daniels, Director of Human Resources. Please cc BFT on your email.

BUSD Loses Two Retired Teachers
It is with much sadness that we note the passing of retired teacher, Katherine (Kathy) Freeburg, who taught at Rosa Parks and Cragmont. She worked nearly three decades as a BUSD teacher and became a mentor to many, including undergraduates in UC Berkeley’s CalTeach program.

We also mourn the loss of Warner E. Freeman who taught science at King Middle School. He additionally was a civil rights activist, musician and a UC Berkeley researcher.


Former Berkeley High Teacher Rick Ayers Speaking at Moe's Bookstore

William Ayers, Crystal Laura, and Rick Ayers are speaking at Moe's Bookstore on February 6th at 7 pm. The authors will talk about You Can’t Fire the Bad Ones! And 18 Other Myths About Teachers, Teacher Unions, and Public Education. The book overturns common misconceptions about charter schools, school “choice,” standardized tests, common core curriculum, and teachers’ unions.

Tax Reminder!

It's that season again. Just a reminder that your BFT dues are 1.4% of your Gross Income and they're tax-deductible.

College Scholarships Available - Deadline to Apply is March 31st 2018!
Are you planning on continuing your education? Do you have a dependent that is a senior in high school and planning to attend college? AFT can help! As part of the Robert G. Porter Scholars Program, the AFT offers four $8,000 scholarships to high-achieving high school seniors who are dependents of AFT members. They also offer ten $1,000 grants to AFT members seeking to continue education in their field of work. 

Deadline is March 31st, 2018! For more information, check out the AFT Scholarships page!

Updated Retirement FAQ
BFT has updated the Retirement FAQ. Check out the updated information. 
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 Brent Daniels at
New BUSD Employee Assistance Program Provider

As of January 1st, BUSD has switched to a new EAP provider, Claremont EAP.   You and your family members are entitled to up to 8 sessions per member per incident per year.  The EAP can help you resolve a broad range of personal problems through assessment of issues and referral to Participating Practitioners including:
• Marriage/Family Issues    
• Stress Management
• Emotional Problems   
• Alcohol/Drug Dependency
• Financial & Legal Problems    
• Childcare & Eldercare Assistance

This service is free and confidential.

Calendar of Coming Events
2/7/18 - School Board Meeting
2/8/18 - CFT Convention Ballots Due
2/8/18 - High School Open House
2/16/18-2/19/18 No School--President's Day Weekend
2/21/18 - School Board Meeting
3/8/18 - Membership meeting about BUSD Budget at Adult School
4/2/18-4/6/18 Spring Break