Berkeley Teachers to Start New School Year with New Contract

Berkeley teachers have ratified a new contract with the Berkeley Unified School District for this school year, 2017-18, and the following year, 2018-19.

The contract was approved by Board of Education on June 28 shortly after it was ratified by the Berkeley Federation of Teachers (BFT).

Key new provisions in the agreement not found in the previous agreement include the following for BFT bargaining unit members:

Compensation

In the area of compensation, the contract provides all BFT members a one-time, lump-sum bonus equal to 1% of their 2017-18 salary and, effective July 1, 2018, an ongoing increase of salary of 1%.

In addition, the agreement provides for a possible additional bonus up to 1.5%, conditional upon the amount of one-time discretionary funds included in the State budget in 2018-19. 

Grades 1-5 preparation and instructional time

Effective July 1, 2018, the preparation and instructional time will be equalized for grades 1-5. The prep time for all five grades will be 4 periods per week. Previously, the prep time for grades 1-3 teachers was based on a different formula than that of grades 4-5 teachers. Instructional times will be 305 minutes for all 5 grades. Grades 4-5 will not see a change since they currently have 305 minutes of instructional time, while grades 1-3 will see an increase from their current 285 minutes.

Other provisions

The contract also includes new provisions in several other areas, including parental leaves of absence and class size, as well as an hourly pay rate of $36.56 for K-12 extra-duty assignments effective July 1, 2017.

According to BFT President Cathy Campbell, “This agreement provides the teachers of our youngest students with more time to plan, reflect on student work and individualize instruction. This will strengthen teaching and learning, and allow teachers to better serve students and families. It also includes a very modest increase for teachers in a time of declining BUSD revenue and significantly increasing costs. We need to continue the struggle to increase education funding in California in the long-term.”

”I’m very happy that we have reached an agreement for the next two years,” said Superintendent Donald Evans. “We are very thankful that we have a great group of teachers who work very hard to inspire and motivate our children.”

“This agreement represents a modest increase due to increasing pension costs that exceed projected increases in revenues for the 2017-18 school year,” said Deputy Superintendent Javetta Cleveland. “The costs of the agreement could substantially or fully exceed projected revenue for 2018-19, depending on the State budget. The District may still need to make more budget reductions.”

“Every day, thousands of parents and guardians entrust their children to our outstanding corps of professional educators,” said Board President Ty Alper. “Our Board is thrilled to reach an agreement that honors our teachers and sets the stage for an exciting 2017-18 school year.”

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