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April 26, 2019 Negotiations Update

Negotiations Update: April 26, 2019
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Negotiations session: April 26th, 2019

BFT and BUSD met for their fourth bargaining session on April 26th.


BFT Proposes 12% Raise Over the Next Two Years

BFT Chief Negotiator Cathy Campbell made a strong case that our members need a significant raise. She praised the talent and dedication of our teaching staff and lamented the uncertainty that so many face when deciding if they can afford to make their careers in Berkeley. While acknowledging the budget challenges facing BUSD and public education across the state, Campbell said that the recruitment and retention of our excellent teachers has to be one of BUSD’s top priorities. She noted recent studies showing the high cost of teacher turnover and pointed out various nearby districts who have recently given increases that will attract top teaching talent if Berkeley does not keep pace. “This is a serious proposal. We need to work together to find a path. The need is great,” Campbell said.

Agreements Reached

Alternative Evaluations
The union and district agreed on a provision that would allow more opportunities to do alternative evaluations.

Preschool Integrated Classrooms
Agreement was also reached on changes to the enrollment criteria for Integrated Special Ed/General Ed preschool classrooms as requested by our members.


BFT Proposals Presented on April 26

BFT Proposes to Phase out the Cap on Credit for Prior Years of Service

BFT Vice President Matt Meyer presented a BFT proposal to raise the number of years of credit given for prior years of service in other districts when placing new hires on the salary schedule. The proposal would phase in an increased cap one year at a time, from the current 12 year limit until it is entirely eliminated. Meyer made the point that our contract must reflect the realities of the increasingly acute teacher shortage, and said that we should be early adopters of this strategic change which will make us more attractive to veteran teachers.


BFT Proposes to Eliminate Step 12 Salary Schedule “Freeze”

In a related proposal, BFT proposed to change the unfair and anachronistic provision whereby teachers who are hired into BUSD with any prior teaching experience in other districts are frozen at Step 12 for three years when they reach that point on the salary schedule. Meyer explained that this “relic” provision is a severe disincentive for mid-career teachers to remain in Berkeley. “These are the teachers who we’ve heavily invested in,” said Meyer, “and this provision also makes it difficult to recruit from other districts.”

Special Ed Proposals

BUSD promised to respond by May 17th to BFT’s previous proposals to establish caseload caps and limit the number of assessments assigned to Special Ed teachers.

Agreement Reached on Calendar for 2020-2021 School Year

The details have been finalized on a calendar that starts and ends the school year one week earlier and ends first semester before winter break. It will be published to the Berkeley community soon, but in the meantime you can see a final draft here. Please note that the summer of 2020 will be one week shorter than usual as we make the transition to earlier start and end dates. BFT gains include agreement that the first three days of school in 2020-2021 for K-8 students will be on a shortened “Wednesday” schedule. The extra time after dismissal on Tuesday will allow site leadership teams to plan teacher meetings if needed. In another improvement, elementary teachers will have more time between the end of each trimester and the date that report cards are due.



A great contract in Berkeley is more likely with strong unified action in Sacramento!! Join educators from around the state to fight for fully funded public education. Wear red and represent!

For details about the timing and logistics, see the BFT FAQ.

Past Updates
All negotiations updates are posted on our website here.
Next Session
The BFT and BUSD teams will meet again for an all-day session on Friday, May 17th.
Questions, Comments, Feedback?

For information or to offer comments please contact BFT Vice-President Matt Meyer at

This Negotiations Update was prepared by BFT Treasurer Cynthia Allman and edited by the BFT Negotiations Team.
Berkeley Federation of Teachers, CFT/AFT, AFL-CIO

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