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Negotiations Update 3.20.17

Negotiations Update: March 20th, 2017
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Meet the BFT Negotiations Team!
President Cathy Campbell will lead the team and serve as chief negotiator. Other members include BFT Vice-President and BHS English teacher John Becker, BFT Treasurer and King CDC teacher Dale Long, BFT Secretary and Malcolm X Kindergarten teacher Cynthia Allman, BHS economics teacher Matt Meyer, Longfellow science teacher and Science TSA Matt Hinckley, Washington first grade teacher Janine Waddell, and CFT Field Rep Ed Wang. Many of the team members have negotiated previous contracts and have extensive knowledge of BUSD finances.

The district team consists of attorney Roy Combs, District administrators Evelyn Bradley, Pat Saddler, Maggie Riddle, and Lisa Graham, and site administrators Paco Furlan (Rosa Parks) and Wyn Skeels (BHS and CTE).
 

 
The BFT and BUSD teams met for the first time on Monday, March 13th. Our current contract expires on June 30th, 2017.

 

The BFT team has been preparing since last fall. This work has included drafting and analyzing the BFT Negotiations Survey, scrutinizing the BUSD budget, researching contracts from other districts, and considering ideas offered by our members. The team has also tried to anticipate possible BUSD proposals and prepare responses.
Some of the issues under discussion:
Compensation

At the first meeting, BFT emphasized the need for serious and concerted efforts to increase teacher compensation, despite indications that the state budget will provide very little new revenue for 2017-2018. BFT also proposed a significant increase in the hourly rate that teachers are paid to work with students in after-school intervention programs.

 
Calendar

BFT also raised the possibility of modifying the current school calendar in order to shorten summer break and have more breaks spread throughout the year. This would help to minimize the summer learning slide experienced by many of our students, especially those without opportunities for enriching summer activities. It could also improve stamina and morale for teachers and students. This idea is still in the exploratory phase, as there are many other stakeholders who must be considered and issues to be addressed. BFT will use the responses and comments from our recent survey to guide us. If you have ideas or concerns, contact BFT at bft4tchr@lmi.net.

K-5 Prep Time

BFT also presented ideas about equalizing prep time for first through fifth grade teachers. Currently, teachers in 1st through 3rd grades receive only one 45-minute period of release time per week, while their 4th and 5th grade colleagues receive five periods per week. As class sizes become more equal, the justification for this disparity is diminished. BFT will push for an expedited and smooth adjustment of release time, and will advocate for uses of release time instruction that will best serve students. Increasing the amount of release time provided by credentialed teachers is costly, as it requires increases in staffing. It is probable that some of these costs will be met through a decrease in release time for 4th and 5th grade teachers.

 
Many thanks to those who came out for Teachers Across Berkeley!
Teachers from every site covered Berkeley with our colorful posters, created by member Julie Searle. This is an important part of our contract campaign and you made it happen. The placards look great and we're hearing about them all over town. 
 
Berkeley Federation of Teachers, CFT/AFT, AFL-CIO

Our mailing address is:
1432 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94702
(510) 549-2307 
fax (510 549-2308
www.berkeleyfederationofteachers.org

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