I believe that staying informed is critical to our members staying safe, activating our rights, connecting with community and enriching ourselves, our families, our students and their families. Each week, BTU staff seeks to provide you with information that can promote these goals. This month, we have won new victories. If you have questions about any of these victories or opportunities, please reach out to the contact information provided in each promotion, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
BTU VICTORY IN THE CHIROPRACTOR AND ACUPUNCTURE CO-PAY GRIEVANCE
As many of you know, in the fall, BTU filed a grievance against City Schools holding that the district violated our PSRP and Teacher contracts by improperly charging a $20 copay for acupuncture and chiropractic services under the PPO and POS CareFirst healthcare plans. After much back and forth, we prevailed in this grievance. City Schools and CareFirst have ceased charging this copay and are making arrangements to issue reimbursements to all those improperly charged.
All those who were wrongly charged a copay should have recently received an email from Zach Taylor in your BCPSS account on Thursday, January 20. If you did not receive an email but believe you were wrongly charged a copay, please email Zach Taylor, BTU’s Vice President of Middle Schools, at email@example.com.
To email those that CareFirst says are owed a reimbursement, Zach Taylor used a list generated by the district. But the list that the district provided did not include employee ID numbers or particular email addresses, so BTU is also pushing for a more complete list (since some of our members have the same first and last name).
City Schools informed BTU that reimbursements may take several weeks, though some reimbursements may have already been processed and sent to your home address. BTU is still seeking a complete list of dollar amounts that are owed, as they vary from person to person depending on how many times you were charged a copay. Thus far, we have only received a list of affected individuals but no specific dollar amounts.
Overall, we know that nearly 900 BCPSS staff members were improperly charged, with over 700 being BTU members. The total amount recovered is at least tens of thousands of dollars, if not hundreds of thousands.
As a reminder, those under the PPO plan face no liability for acupuncture and chiropractic services, whereas the POS plan permits a charge of “10% coinsurance for chiropractic services” with no copay. The POS plan does not cover acupuncture services.
Our healthcare benefits are among the cornerstones of our contract. BTU will continue to hold the district accountable to its commitments. Please do not hesitate to call a BTU Field Representative if you have any questions or other concerns regarding our contractually protected rights and benefits.
DEADLINE TO CORRECT ERRORS IN 1ST FORMAL OBSERVATION RATINGS
The district has informed us that if there was an entry error in one or more of your 1st Formal Observation ratings, you must complete the Request to Update Employee Evaluation Survey. The survey submission form must include the specific change requested, the rationale for the change, and any relevant documentation to support the change at the time of survey submission.
In accordance with the 2019 BCPSS regulation for employee evaluation review and update requests, all survey submissions must be received by the Human Capital Office no later than Tuesday, February 1st. All requests will be sent to the appropriate supervisor for approval before final review and determination by the Human Capital Office.
This regulation does not replace or modify an employee’s right to appeal, as outlined in applicable law, regulation, or the BTU collective bargaining agreement. Rather, this is a process to ensure that the ratings reflected on the employee record were entered correctly.
*Keep in mind that this process only applies to errors made in what the observer intended to enter into the online portal. This process does not cover rating disagreements between the observer and the observed staff member.
BCPSS MID-YEAR PERFORMANCE REVIEW DEADLINE EXTENDED TO 2/11/22
Discussions about employee performance and team goals midway through the year are important opportunities for each team member across City Schools to reflect upon their impact thus far in the year.
The district wants to ensure there is sufficient time for supervisors and their team members to pause and engage in meaningful performance-based conferences, and understand the return from the winter holiday has required each of us to navigate a great deal of uncertainty and to be responsive to the evolving needs of our students and school communities.
With that in mind, the deadline for Mid Year Performance Review for BTU Teacher and PSRP members has been extended by two weeks. The deadline for mid year performance reviews (originally communicated as January 31, 2022) has been updated and adjusted to Friday, February 11, 2022.
WATCH PRESIDENT BROWN SHARE LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES AT THE BALTIMORE CITY SENATE DELEGATION GRASSROOT BRIEFING
Watch as President Diamonté Brown takes your case to the Baltimore City Senate Delegation’s Grassroots Briefing on Baltimore City Public Schools. Among many other issues, President Brown shared legislative priorities around Senate Bill 157 and shared how the City Senate Delegation could help stop devastating and permanent school closures in Baltimore City.
Sign the petition to save our schools. For more information and to get involved contact Fareeha Waheed, BTU’s Vice President of Elementary Schools, at FWaheed@bcps.k12.md.us. Visit and bookmark #SAVEBALTIMORESCHOOLS.
SUPPORT THE BTU HIGH FILTRATION MASK DRIVE
BTU partnered with elected officials and community organizations from around the city to launch a high filtration mask drive (N95 and KN95 level). Are you a part of an organization that has access to such masks and would like to make a donation? If so please email firstname.lastname@example.org If you are an individual who would like to make a monetary donation that will be used to purchase masks from a local distributor.
So far, because of your contributions, your work, and community support, we have raised $19,911.00 and received 16,300 masks for students and staff. We are getting closer and closer to our goal of $20,000. If we have any ask of you today, it is for you to share the link to the fundraiser with friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors. Look out for BTU staff who are dilligently delivering masks to schools and worksites this week and beyond to ensure your safety and to check-in on you.
We give thanks to Greedy Reads for donating 10% of their sales from last week to our BTU Mask Drive to get high filtration masks to students and school staff. Head over to Greedy Reads to purchase books like Dr. Bettina Love’s We Want to Do More Than Survive, BTU’s pick for our We Want to Do More Than Survive Book Club taking place during Black Lives Matter at Schools Week of Action.
WATCH THE JAN 31 BTU EMERGENCY EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING @ 7:00PM
Members will need to register and have their membership checked before being sent a Zoom link to join the webinar as an “Attendee”. The email will be from “BTU Admin #2”. Check your spam folder!
Attendees can observe the meeting, see the Panelists (Executive Board Members) that have their cameras on, see screen sharing, and hear all the audio.
Attendees will not be able to chat with Panelists or other Attendees. Attendees will not be able to raise their hand. Attendees will be able to observe the meeting but not participate in the meeting.
THE DEADLINE TO REGISTER FOR THIS WEBINAR IS: JAN 31 AT 6:45PM. NO REGISTRATIONS WILL BE CHECKED AFTER THIS DATE/TIME.
SUBMIT TESTIMONY ON SCHOOL BOARD LEGISLATION
While we fight for the immediate and urgent needs of staff and students inside of a reactive and poorly planned district, we also know that long term structural change is needed in order to shift how decisions are even made by leadership moving forward.
This session Senator Carter and Delegate Wells are championing Senate Bill 157, which if passed will:
-Increase the student members of the board from 1 to 2
-Give student members of the board full voting rights and the ability to participate in executive/closed sessions
-Change the process by which student members of the board are selected so that all 6-12 students could vote on their representatives (with only 11th-12th graders being eligible to run)
-Establish a commission to make recommendations on the appropriate amount of compensation for board members (City Schools is one of 2 boards in the state that currently receive no compensation for their work)
We believe all of these pieces would meaningfully move the board in a more democratic direction, especially in tandem with the 2 elected seats coming on board in 2022. WE NEED YOUR HELP TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN! The most important upcoming hearing is taking place on 1/28/22 with the City Senate Delegation.
Please fill out this interest form if you’re willing to submit written or verbal testimony. BTU and the VOTES coalition, which BTU is a part of, can help you with your comments in any way needed as well as navigating the logistics of the General Assembly to submit. We could also support with union leave for anyone who wants to offer verbal testimony as a witness during school hours.
If you would like to support further or further support around writing testimony and would like access to the VOTES Coalition Toolkit for Supporting Senate Bill 157, please contact Corey Gaber at CGaber@baltu.org.
FILL OUT THE SUBSTITUTE SURVEY
Whenever you serve as a substitute, whether for just a short period of time or a whole day, BTU leadership requests that you fill out this form to help us collect data and better advocate for policies that support fully staffed, well-functioning schools.
This form does NOT take the place of contacting a BTU Field Rep if you believe a contract violation has occurred, or in the case of PSRPs, you are owed additional pay for subbing. Always contact your Field Representative when you believe the contract is being violated.
USE THIS BTU FORM TO REPORT HEALTH AND SAFETY VIOLATIONS
The BTU has created an online reporting form in order to document positive and suspected COVID cases. This online reporting form can also be used to report:
- violations of the Teacher and PSRP Contracts
- violations of the MOU we recently negotiated to protect members, and
- violations of the District’s Safety and Health Guidelines.
This form is NOT meant to replace reported violations sent to supervisors, it is a supplement that will allow union membership a single, consistent, and safe place to report to BTU so that we are able to most efficiently and effectively support staff.
Please email email@example.com or your field rep if you have questions about how to fill out this form.