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June 11, 2019 Negotiations Update



Negotiations Update: June 11th, 2019
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Negotiations Update: Summer Update
BFT and BUSD bargaining teams met for six full-day sessions between March 15 and May 28, 2019. The two sides did not come to an agreement to replace the current contract, which expires on June 30, 2019.

The terms and conditions of our current contract will continue until a new agreement is reached.

Several agreements were reached on specific issues. Many other items are still being negotiated. Sessions will resume in early September.

All previous Negotiations Updates can be found on the BFT website.


What Has Been Achieved So Far

Increase in BUSD Contribution to Benefits

BUSD has agreed to share half of any health benefits cost increases for the 2020 and 2021 plan years.

True Personal Leave Days

BFT members will be able to use up to four days of their earned sick leave per year without giving any reason to administrators.

Improved Academic Calendar Starting in 2020-2021

School will begin and end a week earlier and the first semester will end before winter break beginning in 2020-2021.

Elimination of the Step 12 Salary “Freeze”

Teachers who come to Berkeley with prior service in another district will no longer have their salary frozen at Step 12. Teachers who are currently in the “freeze” will move forward at least one year in 2019-2020.

Increased Credit for Prior Service in Other Districts

Credit for prior service granted to newly hired teachers will gradually increase from 12 to 17 years.

Increased Compensation for Behavior Analysts

Behavior Analysts will be paid more to recognize their specialized training.

Increased Opportunities for Alternative Evaluations

Permanent status BFT members will have the right to participate in Alternative Evaluations in consecutive evaluation cycles.

National Board Certification Stipend and Fees for School Psychologists

National Board certified School Psychologists will be eligible for an annual stipend and to have their certification fees paid by BUSD.


What is Still Being Negotiated


The most recent proposals for salary increases for 2019-2020 are 2.25% from BUSD and 5.75% from BFT. BFT also seeks a guaranteed increase for 2020-2021, along with an additional increase that is contingent on a new local special tax. BFT continues to prioritize a compensation agreement that will significantly improve our competitiveness in this area.

Term of the Agreement

BFT believes that a two-year agreement is most beneficial to members. Statewide legislation and ballot measures bring the possibility of greatly increased state revenue after 2020. A potential local tax may also increase available funds. Settling the amount of compensation too far into the future risks leaving money on the table.

Supports for Students: Special Education Case Managers

BFT has proposed caseload caps and limits on the number of assessments case managers can be required to do which would result in more case managers and support for students. BUSD responded with a proposal for a sub-committee to discuss Special Ed restructuring.  BFT believes that it is in members’ and students’ interests to have a strong teacher voice regarding any new ideas for Special Ed, and so expressed interest in that idea, but also maintained the original proposal for more support.

Independent Study Salary Schedule

BFT proposed that Independent Study teachers be placed on the K-12 salary schedule and that they have a path to permanent status. 

Hourly Teaching Rate Increase

BFT proposed that the hourly teaching rate increase to $55. 

Increased Compensation for School Psychologists

BFT proposed increasing the School Psychologist salary schedule from its current 10 steps to 12 steps. 

Increased Compensation for Elementary Teachers who Cover for Unfilled Absences

BFT proposed that elementary teachers who take in students when no sub is available be paid at a percentage of their per diem rate instead of the current portion of the daily sub rate. 

Paid Child-rearing Leave for Hourly Employees

BFT proposed that hourly employees be entitled to the same childrearing benefits as teachers on the salary schedule. 

Elimination of the Waiting Period for Benefits for Adult School Teachers

Currently, BAS teachers must wait until their second year of service to be eligible for BUSD health benefits. BFT proposed to eliminate this waiting period. 

Substitute Compensation
BFT proposed a significant increase to the substitute daily rate and a change in pay structure to incentivize substitutes taking more sub jobs in Berkeley. 


What You Can Do To Strengthen Our Contract Campaign

The fight continues! Bargaining will resume in early September. Many of BFT's proposals are achievable with the active support of an informed and energized membership.

Put these events in your calendar and come back in the fall ready to fight for what we want and need! This fall will be different as we escalate our contract campaign in order to achieve our proposals. 

September 5--Leaflet at Elementary Back to School Nights

September 12--Leaflet at Middle School Back to School Nights

September 18--Mass Mobilization to the School Board meeting! Music, march, rally!

September 26--Leaflet at BHS Back to School Night



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 in early September.
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

Our mailing address is:
1432 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94702
(510) 549-2307

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