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September 24, 2019 Negotiations Update

Negotiations Update: September 24, 2019
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Negotiations Update: Fall 2019

BFT and BUSD have been in bargaining sessions on September 12 and September 19. Three 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.

Many thanks to the hundreds of BFT and BCCE members and their allies who came out on September 18 to fight for a fair new contract!

The strength and solidarity on display were truly amazing and inspiring. This great action is leading to great results at the bargaining table.


September 19 Agreements:
BFT and BUSD came to agreement on five issues at this session.

BFT Wins Increase in Sub Pay and New Sub Structure

BUSD accepted BFT’s proposal to significantly raise the rate of pay for substitutes and to move them to a higher rate more quickly. The new Daily Rate for days 1-30 will be $182. The Extended Daily Rate for 31 or more days in any given year will be $207. Retired BUSD teachers will be eligible for the Extended Daily Rate on the first day of substitute service. Substitutes who work more than 60 days in a given academic year will continue at the Extended Daily Rate in the following school year if they have worked at least 15 days in each semester and continue to work at least 15 days in each subsequent semester. 

This important victory will help us fill sub positions with the most qualified and committed teachers and improve the functioning of our schools at all levels. 

Two Victories for School Psychologists

BUSD accepted BFT’s proposal to add two steps to the School Psychologist salary schedule for a new total of twelve steps. Each new step comes with a 3% increase. Any additional increase to teacher salaries will also apply to these rates. The salary of veteran school psychs will now better reflect their years of experience and provide incentives for these highly qualified professionals to stay in BUSD.  

In addition, BUSD agreed with a previous BFT proposal to reimburse School Psychologists for fees paid to obtain National Board Certification. They will also become eligible for the same annual stipends as National Board Certified Teachers. 

Reduced Workload Notification Moved to April 15

The parties agreed to move up the deadline for veteran teachers to notify the district that they plan to use their rights to a Reduced Workload under Article 17.4.9. The intent is to allow sites to better plan and arrange for job shares for the following school year. 


Adult School Program Coordinators

BFT and BUSD agreed to clarifications about how open Program Coordinator positions are communicated and filled, and to a two year term for these positions. Both parties agreed that all Adult School teachers should have the opportunity to express interest in a position. 

Update on Special Ed Proposals
BFT continues to make a strong case for reduced caseloads and limits on assessments. At this session, Negotiations team members who work in Special Education presented actual examples from their own experience and gathered from our members. They shared powerful stories of the painful trade-offs that they make every single day between serving students and doing necessary paperwork, between collaborating with general ed teachers and communicating with parents, between modifying lessons and scheduling IA’s, even between doing their jobs and maintaining their own physical and mental health.  

BFT’s proposed approach to assessments prioritizes triennials, with an understanding that case managers are the best people to perform these assessments. Our position reflects the importance of case managers who know students well and who have relationships with their parents or guardians, and their crucial role in updating students’ goals and plans for their education. New initial assessments would be assigned only to case managers who are under the assessment cap or to central district staff. 

BFT modified our original proposal to allow a phased-in reduction of caseloads in order to address BUSD concerns about the difficulty of staffing, while maintaining our demands for significantly lower caps. 

Speakers at the October 2nd School Board meeting will continue to press the Board to provide the resources to meet these urgent needs. To show your support and to learn more about this crucial topic, come to that Board meeting at 7:30 pm for the public and union comment period. 

Special Ed will be discussed again at the next bargaining session on October 9th, along with compensation. 


Next Session
The BFT and BUSD teams will meet again for an all-day session on October 9th.
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

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