Tag Archives: Berkeley Federation of Teachers
A roomful of supporters of Berkeley teacher Yvette Felarca — who was placed on paid leave by the district last month — demanded during Wednesday night’s School Board meeting that she be returned to her classroom immediately and taken off leave.
Supporters, including young students as well as parents and other adults, took turns at the mic during public comment for items not on the agenda. Their message was unified: “We stand with Ms. Felarca.” When the board president attempted to move on to other items, supporters shouted her down and insisted the board take a stand.
The public outcry prompted the board to move into closed session for more than 30 minutes before it returned to the dais to continue its meeting.
A video of the disruption appears below.
More than a dozen people spoke before the board Wednesday night to say Felarca is an excellent teacher who focuses on helping students learn how to stand up for themselves and stand up for their rights.
Speakers told the board the district should support Felarca, not punish her.
“We will not let Donald Trump run this district,” said one woman. “Stop conceding to these racist attacks.… She needs to be back now.”
And Felarca herself addressed the board: “Return me to my classroom tomorrow because I want to teach,” she said, adding that the board needs to act fast to reverse the “grave errors that have been made.” … Continue reading »
The Berkeley Unified School District has placed Yvette Felarca, a Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School teacher who is also a controversial anti-racist activist, on administrative leave “pending an investigation into concerns that have been raised.”
Felarca was placed on leave Wednesday, according to Charles Burress, district spokesman, who declined to be more specific because it was a personnel matter.
But Felarca and members of a group in which she serves as a political organizer, BAMN, or By Any Means Necessary, said the investigation is connected to her actions at a counter-protest against white supremacists in Sacramento on June 26. A television station filmed Felarca taunting and hitting a neo-Nazi attending the rally led by the Traditionalist Worker Party, a white nationalist extremist group. Felarca, along with a number of others, was injured in the confrontation. Film clips show her with a head wound. … Continue reading »
The Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) and the Berkeley Federation of Teachers (BFT) have reached tentative agreement on teacher contracts for 2015-16 and 2016-17. As a result, teachers should see a total compensation increase of 8% over two years.
The 8% hike comprises a 5% increase that includes a 1% increase to the district’s contribution to health benefits, and a 3% one-time bonus paid in 2016-17. An additional 2% increase will occur in the second year of the agreement, contingent on state funding, according to a press release jointly issued by BUSD and BFT on Friday, May 29.
The agreement also provides for renewed discussion in 2016-17 regarding issues of teacher instructional time and support, as well as compensation.
“We’re really happy with the agreement,” BFT vice-president John Becker told Berkeleyside on Monday. “It’s the kind of agreement that will help keep BUSD competitive.” … Continue reading »
Recently a fifth grade student in my class told me that she wanted to be a teacher when she grew up. I was incredibly pleased, a bright young person deciding that they want to be an educator is an amazing thing. It also made me feel pretty proud that perhaps I had played a role in inspiring such an ambition.
However, another part of me wonders what will the teaching profession look like ten years from now when she is graduating … Continue reading »
This past Thursday, February 19th, Berkeley teachers visited businesses across the city as part of our annual “Teachers Across Berkeley” event. We brought them a new placard to join or replace last year’s model — designed by King Middle School teacher Julie Searle. This year’s placard features a quilt motif and the sentiment that Berkeley and its teachers are “United For Our Children.”
The dedication of Berkeley teachers is no secret at this point. From Transitional Kindergarten to Berkeley High … Continue reading »
On behalf of all Berkeley teachers, I ask you to vote yes on Measure D for the health of our children.
Ask any teacher in Berkeley and they will tell you that there is a strong connection between physical health and academics. Indeed, research has shown that when students are healthy, they are much more likely to attend school and be ready to learn; and when students are not healthy, their academics suffer. According to the California School Board’s Association:
Berkeley Unified School District and the Berkeley Federation of Teachers have reached tentative agreement on a 2013-2015 contract, subject to ratification by the school board and the BFT. Agreement seven months into the school year is rapid compared to some recent contract negotiations.
In the agreement, all teacher wages, including salaries, stipends, daily rates and hourly rates, will be adjusted to reflect a 1.5% increase backdated to July 1, 2013, and an additional one-time bonus payment equal to 2.0% of the teacher’s 2013-2014 salary. Each teacher will also receive a 2.0% increase effective July 1 this year. … Continue reading »
The Berkeley Unified School District and the Berkeley Federation of Teachers have agreed to a retroactive across-the-board 2.5% wage increase and reached consensus on other contract negotiations for 2012-2013.
All wages, including salaries, stipends, daily rates and hourly rates for BFT members will be adjusted to reflect a 2.5% increase, effective July 1, 2012, the district announced in a statement released last night.
Teachers will also receive an additional one-time payment equal to 2.5% of his/her 2012-2013 salary. The district contribution to health and welfare benefits remains unchanged. This is in addition to the 1% bonus negotiated for all employees in the fall of 2012. … Continue reading »
Leah Wilson, president of the Berkeley Unified School District’s board, today announced her resignation, effective March 31. Wilson recently accepted an appointment as Court Executive Officer for the Alameda County Superior Court. That role presents potential conflicts of interest in future litigation.
“It’s potentially chilling to litigants that might be engaged in litigation with the district,” Wilson said. “It was something that I was told would not work. But it’s beyond bittersweet. It’s an incredible career opportunity and at the same time it has resulted in my not being able to fulfill the commitment I had made.”
Wilson was elected to the board in 2010 and assumed the presidency last year. She faced the delicate task of bringing the board together after a split over superintendent choice in the spring of 2012, and then the collapse of the search when finalist Edmond Heatley pulled out last fall. … Continue reading »
In commercial districts across Berkeley this afternoon, teachers will be speaking to Berkeleyans about the current state of contract negotiations between the Berkeley Federation of Teachers and Berkeley Unified.
According to Cathy Campbell, president of the BFT, negotiations are “not going smoothly” and teachers want to explain the situation “before we turn to more high stakes actions (such as ‘working to rule’), which hopefully we will not have to do.”
The teachers’ contract expired in June 2012, but that contract was just an extension of the July 2008 agreement, which was intended to last two years. Both the teachers union and the BUSD agreed to extensions with no salary increases during the worst of the economic recession. In this year’s negotiations, the BFT proposed a one-time 10% bonus, paid from part of the BUSD’s $8.7 million ending fund balance. … Continue reading »
Berkeley Unified School District has named Javetta Cleveland and Neil Smith, both BUSD staff, as joint interim superintendents for an unspecified period of time until someone is found to fill the shoes of former superintendent Bill Huyett who has retired.
BUSD Board President John Selawsky said at the board’s meeting on Wednesday night that a candidate is currently being interviewed for the district’s top position.
Cleveland, who is BUSD Deputy Superintendent, and Smith, who is Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, took up their duties at the Wednesday board meeting.
Berkeley teacher and school employee unions are hoping to take at least 10 bus loads of protesters to rally in Sacramento on Wednesday, April 21. The rally on the capitol lawn is expected to draw thousands of protesters from across the state, urging the reinstatement of the $2.5 billion in additional educational cuts announced for the 2010-11 budget in January. The governor will produce a revision of the 2010-11 budget on May 15.
“If we want to influence … Continue reading »
The Berkeley Federation of Teachers has sent out a call to parents, guardians and community members to join them this afternoon to “stand up” for public education. The BFT plans to create a line of supporters stretching along Martin Luther King Jr. Way from University Avenue to Dwight Way, a distance of nearly one-half mile. The demonstration begins at 3:30 p.m. in front of the BUSD administration building at 2134 MLK (above).
California ranks 48th out of … Continue reading »