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October 10, 2019 Negotiations Update

Negotiations Update: October 9, 2019

BFT and BUSD met for a full day session on October 9. Future sessions are scheduled for October 18 and October 28. The previous contract expired on June 30, 2019. Its provisions remain in effect until a new agreement is reached. 

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



The parties remain far apart. Here is BUSD’s latest proposal;

2019-2020: A 2.25% increase funded from the General Fund, plus a 3% bonus funded from one-time funds.
2020-2021: No guaranteed increase funded from the General Fund, and an increase of up to 7% (TBD) funded by a new special tax.
2021-2022: No increase

BFT President Matt Meyer responded, “This offer shows a lack of seriousness to get us to competitiveness with other nearby districts. We are looking for long term improvement. It will require a commitment of both state revenue and parcel tax funds to restore BUSD’ ability to staff all of our schools and to retain our excellent, well-trained teachers and staff” 

Meyer reiterated that BFT feels strongly that we need a two year contract. “There may be new state revenue by 2021-2022 and we need to negotiate those funds when the situation is more clear."

He continued, “The structure is also problematic. There is no way we would ask our members to take a leap of faith and ratify a contract with no specific numbers attached and with no guaranteed raises beyond the first year.” 

BFT then responded with its own counterproposal. Our proposal calls for guaranteed raises of 4% in 2019-2020 and 5% in 2020-2021, plus an additional 7.3% raise to be paid from a new local tax in 2020-2021. This proposal is designed to make substantial improvement in our ranking among other districts and to address the dire financial circumstances facing our members.

We are continuing to fight for what our members need. Please need your help.


We Need Your Help with TWO Events!

Our district isn’t hearing us when we tell them what we need. Join your colleagues and make your voice heard at the October 23 School Board Meeting. No pizza, no festivities. Just a chance to tell BUSD it’s time to get serious about a fair contract! 

We are pushing for a contract that will make a real difference in teachers’ ability to make a career in Berkeley. We need everyone who wants a sustainable future for public education and educators in Berkeley to come to the School Board meeting at 7 pm on October 23. 

We Must FILL the Board Chambers!

October 18 District-Wide Walk- in Event

Strength at the table comes from strength in the streets!

There will be Walk-Ins on Friday, October 18th throughout the district to highlight our two main negotiations asks:

1. Increased compensation for our members
2. Sustainable workloads for our case managers.

Check with your BFT site rep for your site’s plans. Please plan on participating!


Special Education 

There was significant progress on Special Ed issues at this session. BFT members have done an excellent job of educating the district about the unique elements of our Full Inclusion model and the unrealistic demands it places on case managers. Their efforts resulted in movement at the table. 

In response to concerns about overwhelming paperwork, BUSD proposed a two year pilot program that limits the number of assessments case managers can be required to complete. Although BFT believes the proposed number of assessments is still too high, we are encouraged by the district’s acknowledgement that limits are needed. 

The BUSD proposal would limit to 15 the number of assessments a Mild/Moderate case manager would be required to complete each year. Triennial assessments would be scheduled first. Additional assessments (initial or supplemental) could be assigned to Mild/Moderate case managers only if they have fewer than 15 total triennials for the year. 

Moderate/Severe teachers would have a limit of 8 triennial assessments annually and would not be assigned any initial assessments. Case managers will be offered the chance to complete assessments beyond the limit for extra pay, on a strictly voluntary basis. 

BUSD also proposed a phased approach to reducing caseloads, resulting after three years in caseload averages of 21:1 for M/M case managers and 11:1 for M/S case managers. The district proposed a small amount of additional compensation when the averages are exceeded. 

The union will make a comprehensive counter proposal at our next session on October 18.  

All Special Ed teachers are invited to hear a detailed BFT update on Tuesday, October 15 from 4-5 pm in Room 125 at 2020 Bonar Street. 

Independent Study

BUSD agreed to move Independent Study teachers to permanent status. This is a huge win for our Independent Study teachers. Discussions continue around BFT’s proposal to put Independent Study teachers on the K-12 salary schedule. 

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 October 18th.
Questions, Comments, Feedback?

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

This Negotiations Update was prepared by BFT Treasurer Cynthia Allman and edited by the BFT Negotiations Team.