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BFT Accomplishments 2017-2018

Berkeley Federation of Teachers

Key Accomplishments of 2017-2018

BFT had many victories last year in advocating for our members, our students and for quality public education.

❖      BFT Succeeds in our “No Cuts to School Sites” Campaign

Working in partnership with the PTA Council and the BUSD classified union, the Berkeley Council of Classified Workers, BFT led a successful campaign to convince the School Board to avoid cuts to school sites as part of the budget balancing process.  Some of the positions that were saved in this effort include Academic Counselors at BHS, the Crossing Guard at Washington Elementary, the Vice-Principal position at Malcolm X and the Counselor position at Berkeley Technology Academy.  When we fight we win!  

❖      New Contract Agreement Quadruples 1st through 3rd Grade Prep Time
As a result of our 2017-2019 contract agreement teachers in Grades 1-3 will experience a four-fold increase in their prep time this coming year (from one prep per week to four preps per week).  Teachers in Grades 4-5 will also receive four preps per week.  Students will receive greater access to specialized PE and Science instruction as a result of this agreement.

❖      Raise and Bonus for 2018-2019
BFT employees will receive a 1% raise and a 1.5% bonus for 2018-2019.  The bonus will be paid in the September 30th paycheck for salaried employees.  (Hourly employees will receive the bonus in August of 2019.  These increases come to members even as BUSD must carry out budget cuts for three years in a row (17-18 through 19-20) in order to balance the budget.

❖      Fighting to Diversify BUSD’s Teaching Staff
The BFT Teachers of Color Network fought hard to convince the BUSD School Board and staff to place greater prioritization on diversifying the BUSD teaching staff.  Over 125 teachers of color and allies packed the January School Board meeting to demand action.  As a result of these efforts, BUSD expedited its hiring process and implemented a classified teacher pipeline project.    BUSD needs to make more progress, and BFT and the BFT Teachers of Color Network are committed to continuing to push on this issue.

❖      Standing Up for Social Justice and Respect for Teachers
BFT was a sponsor of the successful Rally Against Hate in Berkeley in August, and had a strong presence at the Women’s March in January.  Members organized their sites to participate in the National Day of Action for Safe Schools in March, and wore “Red for Ed” in solidarity with teacher walkouts in West Virginia, Arizona, Oklahoma and other states.  BFT sponsored an Immigrants Rights Legal Observer training for teachers, and participated in the citywide Sanctuary Task Force.

❖      We Defend Public Education
A large delegation of BFT members attended the Network for Public Education (Diane Ravitch’s organization) conference in October, and BFT sponsored a showing of “Backpack Full of Cash” to highlight the charter movement as an attack on quality public education.

❖      Member Engagement and Union Democracy
BFT help regular membership meetings this part year, including on key topics such as compensation and possible major changes to the academic calendar.  We launched our visually appealing monthly e-newsletter, and fabulous new website.  We maintained a 98% membership rate, and increased the number of members making voluntary monthly contributions to our PAC fund.  We talked with hundreds of individual members and 99% of those employees recommitted to BFT by completing a new membership form.