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September 16, 2019 Negotiations Update

Negotiations Update: September 16th, 2019
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Negotiations Update: Fall 2019

BFT and BUSD resumed bargaining sessions on September 12. Four more full day sessions are scheduled between now 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.

All Member Mobilization to the September 18th School Board Meeting

Show our School Board that we stand together
to demand a fair contract.
Wednesday, September 18
6:00 - 7:15 p.m. Rally and Music
@ University and Bonar
7:15 - 8:30 p.m. BUSD School Board Meeting
1231 Addison Street Board Chambers


BFT Proposals

Sub Compensation

In an attempt to address the ongoing and severe shortage of substitute teachers, BFT reintroduced a proposal for a significantly increased rate of base pay and a faster path to higher pay rates. The daily rate for Days 1-30 in any given academic year would be $182 and would increase to $207 after 30 days of service. BFT also proposed that retired BUSD teachers who are willing to sub should receive the highest rate beginning on their first day of service. 

Independent Study

Fully credentialed Independent Study teachers are paid by the hour and kept in temporary status without a path to permanence. BFT reiterated our previous proposal that they be placed on the salary schedule and that their pay and duty days be equal to other K-12 teachers. 

School Psychologist Salaries

School psychologists are highly trained and in great demand, but currently they have only 10 steps on their salary schedule. BFT proposed again to add two steps to their schedule. 

VAPA Stipends

Visual and Performing Arts teachers spend long hours after their duty day rehearsing and leading student performances. Their stipends are meager and have barely increased in years. Using data gathered by Berkeley High VAPA teachers, BFT proposed a significant increase in those stipends.

Special Education

BUSD and BFT continue to discuss our demand for increased support for our full inclusion model of special education. We need more case managers to meet ALL students’ needs and a limit on the number of assessments special ed teachers can be required to perform. A subcommittee has met two times to discuss the significant workload issues our case managers face. 


The union and the district are still far apart on the issue of compensation. The most recent BUSD proposal was for a 2.25% increase, while BFT has maintained a demand for 5.75% in 2019-2020, plus a guaranteed increase for 2020-2021 that is to be determined, along with an additional increase that is contingent on passing a local special tax for salaries. The district needs to hear from our members that their current proposal is inadequate to meet our needs and does not do nearly enough to address the sustainability crisis that we face. The bargaining teams will be discussing compensation on September 19. Your presence at the September 18th School Board meeting will make a difference! Come join fellow educators, classified staff and community supporters to make your voice heard!



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.

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 September 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.
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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