Student Scholarships Available!
If your son or daughter is a senior in high school, he or she is eligible to apply for a BTA scholarship. They do not have to attend Benicia High School to apply, but they must be a child of a BTA member. The dedline to apply Thursday, April 28th at 3:00 PM. Details and instructions are on the application. To download a copy of the scholarship application click here!
Important BUSD Meeting Dates
Click here to get a list of dates for Representative Council, Executive Board, and School Board meetings for the 2015 - 2016 school year.
Are You Getting the Latest Info from BTA?
If you haven't been receiving emails from BTA, please contact Carleen Maselli as soon as possible. You can also send her a text or leave a voice mail at 707-771-0704. Don't delay!
Letter from the President - October 2016BTA Mixer
BTA Mixers are back. Our first one will be Friday October 21st from 3:30 - 5:00. Food, raffles and no host bar. Please click here for a flyer with all the details.Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Use of Indisposed Days
Last year we took a grievance regarding the use of indisposed days. In working with CTA we were advised to settle outside of arbitration since the grievance went to that level. CTA cautioned us about patterns of absences that could constitute abuse. Because this issue was brought to light through the use of indisposed days during professional development days, BTA and Benicia Unified came to the following agreement:
Memorandum of Understanding
Between the Benicia Teachers Association
and the Benicia Unified School District
March 25, 2016
The District and the Association hereby agree that the only limitation on the use of Indisposition Days as referenced in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 6A.1 is the following: Absences due to Indisposition on calendared professional development days will be limited to two (2) in a three (3) school year period.
This agreement is prospective only and shall not apply to absences which occurred prior to the date of this MOU.
This constitutes the resolution to the grievance filed on February 11, 2015 regarding verbal warnings about having a pattern abuse of indisposed days.
This year BTA had city council candidates approached us for endorsements. This is new territory for us, but after discussion during September's Representative Council, the council agreed to conduct interviews and bring a recommendation back for endorsements or to not endorse at all.
There is always a concern about being involved in politics at all. The concern that came forth the most to consider endorsements is the need to engage our community at a greater level. The presence of BTA in Benicia is non-existent at this time. A couple of years ago we worked with Rotary to help advertise the good things they are doing for schools with their fundraisers and teachers of the month. With a change in the Rotary president we lost that connection. As we go into bargaining again, it is clear that we will once again need to engage the community and we felt it was time to make connections with our officials and members of other groups. We believe this can help get us appointments on committees that will give us a greater voice. One of the committees we are currently seeking a voice on is the Benicia Unified/City of Benicia liaison committee. We also want to consider the support of the other labor groups in town so that when we need support they will stand by our side. With the same old song and dance every year in bargaining, when we ask the community to support us, we need to figure out how we can reciprocate and support them. We also want to have allies that will hear our message without the filter of district officials.
After several hours of interviews and two days of deliberation, we chose to endorse Mark Hughes for Mayor, and Christina Strawbridge and Lionel Laesparda for City Council. We did not stick to party lines, but what the candidates had to say about labor and the willingness to build relationships. We believe these candidates are interested in building relationships with us and give us a greater community voice. This is the same recommendation by the Napa-Solano Labor Council, whom of which we have been building a relationship with over the years. While we understand not everyone will agree personally with this endorsement, we had to consider who would be good for us and our labor siblings. We also understand that you will vote your heart in the end and we will be happy to discuss with you any questions about these endorsements.
We have invited the candidates to our mixer to engage you so you may ask questions of the candidates for yourself. We have also invited your Board Trustees. We hope to see as many of you as possible on October 21st.
Benicia Teachers' Association
Future bargaining dates have been scheduled for 10/26 and 11/8.
October 11, 2016: Click here for 10/11/16 update.
September 28, 2016:
BTA Initial Proposal
Article 2 Salary:
5.9% ongoing increase to teacher's salary.
Article 2 Salary:
1% total compensation or $1000 on each cell.
Article 5 Health and Welfare Benefits:
Increase in district contribution from $800/month to $1000/month.
Article 5 Health and Welfare Benefits:
Status quo. The district is interested in offering a total compensation package.
Article 3 Hours:
Change Outdoor Education stipends from Range 2 to Range 4.
Create 1 Outdoor Education Coordinator position for each grade level at each site that attends Outdoor Ed to be paid at Range 5.
Increase 1-3 Prep time from 35 min./wk. to 90 min./wk.
Increase 4-5 Prep time from 110 min./wk. to 175 min./wk.
Article 3 Hours:
1) Remove the word "planning" from any language which refers to teacher preparation and planning time.
2) 3.C Addition to language: To accommodate flexibility in proving prepartion at Benicia High School, full time teachers' preparation time will be calculated on a weekly basis.
3) 3.H Faculty Meetings: Addition to language: To allow for flexibility, ongoing professional development, and to promote a collaborative shared decision making model, time for faculty meetings at BHS will be developed on a monthly basis.
4) 3.K Common Planning Time (CPT) Addition to language: Management and the Association agree that collaborative decision making results in high levels of trust, increased participation, and improved learning outcomes for students. Site Leadership and the Association are encouraged to utilize a collaborative approach to the development of focus for the year, for common planning time. To promote collaboration and joint decision making at all levels, at ....
5) 3.K Remove the word "preparation;" add the word "common" in front of planning in this article.
6) Revove S.I.P. language which no longer exists and change 4 minimum days to 3 to accommodate elementary conferences.
7) Remove BHS common planning time language and replace with "To accommodate flexibility in providing time at Benicia High School, common planning time will be calculated on a weekly basis."
Article 9 Class Size:
Decrease SCD-LH Mild/Moderate (High School and Middle School) caseload from 20 to 15.
Decrease SDC-SED Perl (Middle School and High School) from class size not greater than 10 to no greater than 8.
Decrease SDC-SED Perl (Middle and High School) caseload from 14 to 12.
Decrease Secondary RSP/SDC combination class with no class size greater than 22 to no class greater than 16.
Decrease Secondary RSP/SDC combination class caseload from 28 to 24. and Total Contacts from 88 to 72.
Addition to Language: The BUSD and BTA will form a committee in the 2017-2018 school year to explore contract language surrounding co-teaching classroom models that combine Special Education and General Education.
Article 9 Class Size:
1) 9.A Remove the language that was bargained to go into effect his year for TK-3 that states 24 to 1 (with 2 at bounty). Replace it with: TK-1st grade classes shall be assigned up to 24 students. Class size relief shall be paid for TK-grade 1 classes that go above 24 students (up to 26 students). Grades 2 and 3 classes shall be assigned up to 26 students. Class size relief shall be paid for grades 2 and 3 classes that go above 26 students (up to 28 studens) at the rate specified in Article 9, section 1, C.2.
2) 9.B At the Secondary Level:
Increase total Contacts:
Full time: from 155 to 165
Increase class size from 33 to 35.
Remove Auto Shop classes from list of class size exceptions.
3) 9.C.2 Take out the would "Bounty" and just use "Class size relief." Remove redundant language regarding Class size relief at secondary level.
4) 9.C.3 Voluntary bounty over total contacts increases from 160 to 170.
|Calendar: Status Quo||Calendar: Status Quo|
Teacher Grants Available
Elizabeth Brown, the Communications Director for SaveOnEnergy.com has written to personally inform us of their second annual $500 Teacher Grant opportunity for K - 8th grade educators. Like last year, they would love the teachers in Benicia to participate and potentially receive $500 for their school or classroom.
Here is the URL that provides the grant information and submission form:
The deadline for submission is October 21, 2016.
Please note that they will be offering this grant opportunity on a recurring basis, so once the above deadline has past, we will keep the grant information posted on our website.
Letter from the President - January, 2016
Ratification of Calendars for 16-17 & 17-18 School Years
- Number of voters: 90
- Group size: 248
- Percentage voted:
Ranked by Votes
|1||Ratify both calendars||53||58.88|
|2||Do not ratify either calendar||35||38.88|
|3||Ratify 16-17 calendar||1||1.11|
|4||Ratify 17-18 calendar||1||1.11|
Letter from the President - September, 2015
Extra Duty Hours
Dear BTA Members,
As I was reviewing the new contract agreement, I wanted to make sure you were all aware of the changes that were made to Extra Duty Hours. I have copied the language below for you.
By October 1, each site administrator shall publish and distribute to all certificated personnel a list of Extra Duty Hours for supervision of events including, but not limited to, athletic activities, dances, class advisorships, intramural sports, administration of competency skills tests, fairs, and carnivals, musicals and dramatic presentations, IEP meetings, 504 meetings, and all site and District initiated committees scheduled outside of the work day, apart from co-curricular duties. Distribution of Extra Duty Hours shall be equitably assigned. Special Education teachers shall count their required I.E.P. conferences as their Extra Duty Hours.
IEP and 504 meetings are in bold, which means that is new language. Please also be aware that it also states that all site and District initiated committees scheduled outside the work day also count. This includes any committee the District initiates including, but not limited to the District Curriculum Council and the Facilities Committee.
There have been many changes to the contract in this last round of bargaining so it is extremely important that all members read and understand their contract. The final contract is not yet ready for distribution. When it is ready it will be emailed to each member and posted here on the website. In the meantime, you may refer to the tentative agreement language which is available as a PDF below. Even though the language is ratified it still says tentative agreement on the website. Please be aware this is now the actual contractual language.
Repeal the GPO/WEP!
Action Alert #73 - A Problem and a PlanSeptember 1, 2015
—Current employees don’t know about the offsets, so they make erroneous plans for retirement.
—We need to reach active public workers who don’t know about the offsets and get them involved. This will give us a larger constituency to pressure Congress for repeal in 2017!
—Use our new flyer to inform current employees of what lies ahead!
Those of us who are affected by the GPO and WEP have a pretty good idea of how they work and are pretty darn sure that both offsets are unfair!
Many current public employees still don’t know about the offsets or only have a vague idea of their effects. In a recent study of active teachers in California, half of them did not know if they would be affected by the offsets. We rely on our worker associations to inform us. Many any of the people in union leadership and other one-career professionals know about the offsets, but they often are building large enough public pensions that the loss of Social Security retirement benefits does not seem to be a big an issue for them. They don’t realize the devastation that can be caused to others by these offsets.
Then, there is the issue of younger people believing that Social Security may disappear or be of minimal value to them when they retire. Wrong! Benefits may be reduced if Congress doesn’t implement some fixes, but it will be there.
Congress will be stuck in the usual pre-election morass for the next year or so. Our job for the next year and a half is to reach out to current union employees and let them know that YES, Social Security retirement benefits will be there and its benefits will be important to them. They will, however, be affected by the offsets, unless they are repealed. We need them now to help us get Congress to repeal the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision.
What You Can Do
Pick your local or a larger association of active public workers as your target. Keep after them! Get them to publicize the offsets, so that their members can be prepared as most of us who are retired now were not. They need to know that they must get life insurance early and to begin saving a greater amount of their paycheck than they might do ordinarily to make up for the shortfall. They need to know that the amount that the SSA tells them they will be getting is wrong and that if they are expecting any benefits from their spouse, they won’t be getting those, either. They need to get onto our team!
Go to ssfairness.com to find out “more information.” That page has explanations from several different agencies and associations. The latest Congressional Research Service report is online there, also.
Attached and below is a one-page flyer that sums up the current situation. Click on this link to get a printable PDF.
Do you work for a public agency that does not participate in the Social Security system by deducting F.I.C.A. taxes from your paycheck but, rather, contributes to a pension system? If so, you know you aren’t earning SS credits on this job, but also—When you retire, you will lose part or all of the Social Security retirement benefits you have earned in other work or as a dependent spouse!
Penalty: The Government Pension Offset–GPO
Many people do not realize that if you have been married for ten years or more to someone who has earned Social Security benefits, when you retire, normally, you will receive an additional amount equal to one-half the amount your spouse has earned. But if you have one of these public pensions where you don’t pay into Social Security, you can lose $12,000 or more a year of your earned spousal benefit. If your spouse dies, you can lose double that, ALL the death benefits other families rely on. (You get your own SS earnings if they are more than half your spouse’s, but those earnings get reduced by the WEP)
Windfall Elimination Provision–WEP
Most people rely on the statements that the Social Security Administration publishes every year estimating your future retirement benefits. DO NOT DO THAT. If you get a public pension, no matter how small, your Social Security benefit earned from other work can be reduced by an amount up to half the amount of your public pension! This has a huge effect on multi-career people! Most people lose $400 or more a month, but the amount can be much more.
What can you do about it?
- Pressure your union or employee group to make it a major priority to repeal the GPO/WEP.
- Write your representatives in Congress. This is so unfair!
- Get more info and join the group at ssfairness.com.
Defend yourself! Find out how much you will lose. Get appropriate life insurance on your spouse. Plan your retirement knowing that you will not be getting as much as the statements say you will! Make sure that your lawyer or broker understands the effects of the offsets when making financial decisions about your future!
Become informed! Be vocal! Talk to public servants affected!
Benicia Rotary Club's Teachers of the Month
Congratulations to Cathy Wright!
From left to right: Darrel Doi, Rotary President with Cathy Wright and Christina Moore BMS principal
Last April the Benicia Rotary honored Cathy Wright, BMS drama teacher, as their teacher of the month. Cathy has been a pillar of Benicia Middle School and our community. Cathy makes every student that walks in her door feel special. She finds something about each one of them that stands out in a positive and real way and lets them know it. In addition to teaching, Cathy produces drama productions with her advanced drama students and in the past has hosted SLAM improvisation classes during school breaks. She continues to bring energy, enthusiasm, kindness and professionalism to Benicia Middle School, and for that we are truly grateful.
Congratulations to Andrea Jenest!
From left to right: Brianna Kleinschmidt, BHS Vice-Principal, Andrea Jenest, BHS science teacher and Darrell Doi, Benicia Rotary President
The Rotary Club invited Andrea Jenest, BHS Science teacher, to their April 2015 meeting to honor her as their Teacher of the Month. Andrea is part of our ECH20 program that focuses on environmental sciences and career and technical education. The program does more than impart book knowledge; it allows students to put that knowledge to work through real life projects. One of Andreas past projects was to have students build underwater robots and present them in competition. ECH20 has focused a lot of time on clean energy and some of that will include using solar energy to pump rain water caught in barrels to their sustainable garden. Andrea works hard, along with her fellow ECH20 colleagues, to bring real life experience to student learning. Thank you Andrea for your commitment to excellence in education.
Benicia Rotary Club is happy to recognize and support our local teachers and schools through this annual program. Each teacher received $25 in Downtown Dollars and was presented with a check for $200 to go towards school sports equipment. Benicia High School was also presented a $1000 check to go towards their sports program that was raised through the efforts of their Casino Night in March.
BTA Spirit Wear
BTA has made a commitment to purchase every BTA member a professional T-shirt. If you have not been asked your size by your site rep please let them know. We would like to make the t-shirt purchase and any other BTA spirit wear by mid March. If you are interested in one of the other items, please see your site rep for the order form and provide a check made out to BTA for the amount of the item. We will be making another purchase order in September for new staff and any additional BTA spirit wear orders.
|T-Shirt - $21|
|Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt - $40|
|Zipped Hoodie Sweatshirt - $40|
|Sweatpants - $40|
|Brushed cotton hat - $21|