Statewide Day of Action in Sacramento on May 22nd FAQ for Members
1. What is happening in Sacramento on May 22nd?
On May 22nd union members, parents, students and community members will lobby, rally, and march in Sacramento as part of a Statewide Day of Action to demand full funding of public education in California; support for community schools, not charters; and racial and social justice within and beyond school doors. There will be mid-day events and music & a rally at 4pm on the Capitol grounds.
2. How can BFT members take action on May 22nd?
All BFT members are encouraged to participate in this statewide day of action, ideally for the entire day. BUSD has confirmed that members may use Personal Leave to attend all day or part of the day in Sacramento. In addition, members can be excused from staff meetings and collaboration so that they can head to Sacramento in the early afternoon (this applies to K-8 and BTA).
3. If I am a temporary or probationary employee can I participate in the May 22nd Statewide Day of Action?
Yes, absolutely. You may use Personal Leave or be excused from your staff meeting (K-8 and BTA) just like any other BFT member. BFT will take swift and serious action if it appears that any temporary or probationary employee is the subject of retaliation on the basis of participating in the May 22nd Day of Action.
4. What is the tentative schedule of the day on May 22nd?
1pm: Rally at the offices of the California Charter School Association
1pm: Members who have participated in previous CFT Lobby Days are doing lobbying
1:30pm: March to the Capitol
3pm: Photo in the Rotunda
4pm: Music on the West Steps of the Capitol
5pm: Rally (same location)
6:30 pm: Buses leave Sacramento to return to Berkeley
5. Why is it important that all BFT members, as well as classified staff, parents, families and community members, participate on May 22nd?
Our public schools desperately need more funding. We will have to be ACTIVE in order to get our State to prioritize funding public schools.
Increased state funding will help us to retain teachers in Berkeley, and provide increased services and case managers to students.
Our legislature will vote on a budget on June 15th. We need to take action now.
See #16 below for more reasons we should all go to Sacramento on May 22nd.
6. Will I be able to use Personal Leave on 5/22 in order to be in Sacramento for the full day?
Yes, BUSD has confirmed that teachers can use Personal Leave to attend the entire day or part of the day in Sacramento on 5/22. One sick leave day will be deducted (as is always the case with Personal Leave). Members can also use Personal Leave to be in Sacramento for part of the day.
We encourage everyone who can attend the full day on May 22nd to call for a sub now and to use Personal Leave as the reason. In the “Notes to Administrator” box you should list “May 22nd Statewide Day of Action”.
7. Can I be excused from my staff meeting and collaboration on May 22nd in order to head to Sacramento (applies to K-8 and BTA)?
Yes, you can do this. You may be asked to fill out an Absence Certificate at a later date and you may have .33 of a sick day deducted (as is always the case with missed staff meetings).
8. Is BFT providing transportation on May 22nd?
Yes, we are. BFT members, BCCE members, parents, families and community members are all welcome on our buses as long as they have signed up in advance. Please use this link to sign up for one of the buses. Buses leave at various times throughout the day (10:30am, 2pm and 2:45pm) and from various locations. All buses return to Berkeley after the rally ends at 6:30 p.m.
9. How does the May 22nd statewide mobilization relate to our own struggle for a great next BFT/BUSD contract?
As you know, the current BFT/BUSD contract expires on June 30, 2019. We are in negotiations for a successor agreement, but BUSD has only offered a 2% across the board salary increase for 2019-2020 at this time (with future years to be discussed). This is inadequate to retain our excellent teaching corps and to recruit strong new hires. We have open positions this year that BUSD could not staff all year, and this crisis will grow without a meaningful increase in compensation. BUSD has cut the district budget for the last three years, but revenue increases are very small, and some costs are escalating quickly. BUSD’s ability to offer a meaningful increase in compensation is due, in part, to inadequate state funding. We must demand full funding of public education in California.
10. What should we say to parents who ask why we will not be at work on May 22nd?
The best response is to urge the parent to see May 22nd as “not business as usual” and to join us in Sacramento on that day with their children in tow. Ultimately the under-funding of education in California harms one group the most: students. We need to all work together for our common good to demand the schools our students deserve, with stable teaching and classified staffs that can provide the individualized education that all students need.
11. Can we talk with parents and students about May 22nd?
You can inform students and parents about this day of action in conversations. We do not recommend using instructional time or district email to communicate with students and parents about May 22nd. BFT Site Reps will be reaching out to parents and PTAs about May 22nd and encouraging families to attend. BFT officers will be communicating with the PTA Council (made up of a representative of all PTAs).
12. What should my site do NOW to plan for May 22nd?
We recommend that the Leadership Team at all sites (including BHS) immediately begin to discuss the best plan for their site in the event that 50% or more of the teachers at the site are absent on 5/22. The Site Rep(s) should join the Leadership Team for this discussion if they are not a member of the Leadership Team.
A site’s plan for 5/22 will look different at each level (elementary, middle and high school) and the staff at your site, including the principal, classified staff and teachers, are the best group to make plans for various possible scenarios on May 22nd. Regrouping of students may be needed at any site with 50% or more teachers in Sacramento on 5/22. For example, classes may need to be combined in larger spaces to watch movies, work on arts and crafts, etc. Because there is an acute regional sub shortage sites should assume they will not have subs for some of the absent teachers.
Teachers who KNOW they cannot go to Sacramento on May 22nd can play a vital role by supporting students at the site and helping with regrouping as needed.
13. How can I get more information to help me decide what I want to do on May 22nd?
BFT is holding a General Membership meeting on May 2nd from 4pm to 5:30 p.m. at the Berkeley Adult School multipurpose room and a section of the meeting will be set aside to answer questions and provide updates about May 22nd. The meeting will also include a negotiations update and a brief presentation about the Schools and Communities First initiative (to raise billions for school funding in California). We encourage all members to attend, especially if you have questions about May 22nd.
14. What should I wear on May 22nd?
BFT members should wear RED to May 22nd. You can buy a new RED t-shirt designed by Miriam Stahl with our “Keep Teachers in Berkeley” design here.
15. How can I help make May 22nd a success?
A great way to help with May 22nd is to join the Outreach Team of California Educators Rising. That team is reaching out to other union locals in California to encourage participation on May 22nd. To join the Outreach Team you can email Stephane Barile at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also encourage all members to sign up to join California Educators Rising and receive periodic email updates.
16. What are other reasons we should all go to Sacramento on May 22nd?
Most Public Education Funding Comes from the State
Educator union locals in California negotiate with their school districts over salary, benefits, and working conditions. Yet, those districts are financially dependent on the state which provides 90% of their funding. Since California ranks 43rd in per-pupil funding and 48th in class size nationwide, and since districts don’t have the power to raise taxes, local school districts don’t have the funds to meet union and community demands for the schools their students deserve. We have to go to the state for additional funding.
We Need to Tax Billionaires and Corporations to Pay for High-Quality Public Education
Even though California is the 5th largest economy in the world, it has never recovered from the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, which sharply reduced commercial and residential property tax contributions to fund public education and other social services. The Schools and Communities First initiative, which has qualified for the November 2020 ballot, would eliminate an unfair corporate property tax loophole and raise $11 billion annually for schools, community colleges, and vital community services. The legislature is now considering SB 37 (Skinner) which would bring in an additional $5 billion annually for pre-K, K-12, and community colleges by raising taxes on the most profitable corporations. We need to demand other legislation that will begin to adequately fund education in California.
Charter Schools Need to Play by the Same Rules
Four important bills are now being considered by the legislature (AB 1505, AB 1506, AB 1507, SB 756) which would give local districts sole authority over charter school authorizations, allow districts to consider economic and educational impact on students in neighboring public schools, establish a cap on the growth of charter schools, prevent charters from operating outside the district that authorized them, and place a 5-year moratorium on new charter schools unless reforms are passed by January 1, 2020. We need to demand passage of this legislation.
Only Collective Action Gets the Goods!
In 2018 and 2019, the incredible strikes of teachers in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, Denver, Washington, Los Angeles, and Oakland demonstrated once again the power of mass labor action. This #RedForEd movement is taking on the twin enemies of public education: pervasive underfunding and privatization. A new Governor and legislature are in office, preparing to sign into law an annual budget and, potentially, charter school accountability and funding bills. Let’s come together in Sacramento -- educators, students, and communities -- in this historic fight to ensure education for all over profits for a few.