November 10 2009 FEA Europe Update

1. Training Opportunity
2. Open Season started Monday, November 9, 2009
3. Tool to compare health benefit plans
4. University of Maryland College Park
5. PGP and Evaluation System
6. Re-employing Annuitants
7. TSP information
8. Veterans Day

Training Opportunity: FEA Europe is very pleased to have Jerry Newberry, Executive Director of the NEA Health Information Network (Bio attached), to present a series of after school workshops on "Defusing Conflict: Successful Parent Conferences". This is an excellent opportunity and well worth the time. Dates and locations are as follows:
Tuesday Nov 17 - Kaiserslautern High School Auditorium, 4:00 - 6:00
Wednesday Nov 18 - Wiesbaden MS Media Center, 3:30 - 5:30
Thursday Nov 19 - Patch High School (Stuttgart) Media Center, 3:30 - 5:30

Open Season started Monday, November 9, 2009: You can enroll in, change, or cancel any of the following: FSAFEDS program (Flexible Spending accounts for medical reasons.) Health Benefits program, Dental and Vision Insurance Programs. At this time there are no plans for Life Insurance Open Season. For more information you can go to OPM's website at or you can contact your Human Resource Representative.

Tool to compare health benefit plans

The University of Maryland College Park has extended the online application until December 18, 2009. Please see the following if interested in this graduate program for a Special Education degree. The classes will be held in the Ramstein Area. FEA has no further information other than the information below.

We are extending the application deadline as we still have fellowships available for the program. We currently have 12 excellent DoDDS professionals enrolled in the first course which is now underway at Ramstein. It will be possible to add additional students without disrupting the program - if we do it now at the very beginning.
** Online Applications Will Be Accepted Until December 18th, 2009 **
This unique program is offered in Germany by graduate faculty from the University of Maryland, College Park. The M.Ed. program consists of approximately 39 graduate credit hours taken over three years and does not require applicants to have a background in special education.
All classes will be offered in the Ramstein area on a Friday night-Saturday day basis, and will be coordinated with the DoDDS schedule when possible. This program will have a set sequence of coursework. Students will complete the program as a cohort.
The program has been awarded a U.S. Department of Education grant which will make it possible for eligible students to receive a fellowship covering the cost of tuition. There is a "Service Obligation" attached by Congress the requirements of which are spelled out in regulations available on our web site. You may also contact Dr. Tori Page-Voth, or Ms. Judy Foster , USA phone: 301-405-6514, with any questions regarding this program.

PGP and Evaluation System: Please find attached the PGP FAQ pages that are part of our MOU on the Educator Performance Appraisal System and the Professional Growth Plans. The questions and answers may help you over the next couple of weeks.

Re-employing Annuitants: Along with the rule change concerning FERS sick leave days (OPM will issue the implementation rules later), another issue was addressed in the Defense Authorization Bill. I read one update that implied annuitants could return to work. The explanation I've read says the potential re-employment is on a case by case basis and will be limited. For example, reemployment for annuitants will be limited to 520 hours in the first 6 months after retirement and then limited to 1,040 hours in any 12 month period after that. There is a total number of hours before an offset to the annuity occurs. The total number of hours is 3,120 before the offset. For more specific/individual information please contact DoDDS-HR.

TSP information: Catch-up contributions for 2010 will be the same as 2009 $5,500.00 (for those over 50 or will be during the calendar year). The elective deferral for both 2010 and 2009 is $16, 500.00. Loan rates on new loans are 3.00% as of November 5, 2009. For those considering retirement the past two months for annuities purchased with your TSP has been Oct. 3.750% and November 3.500% Click here for historical annuity rates.

This Wednesday is Veterans Day, a national holiday. We honor and thank those who have given so much to protect our way of life. Through this sacrifice we have the ability to live our lives as we see fit. These sacrifices go unannounced each day but are celebrated especially on November 11th. Thank you to all who have served and to those that are serving!

Respectfully submitted,

John Luchtman
FEA Europe Area Director
Federal Education Association
Work 354-6844 Civ 09721-4758012
Home Fax/Answering machine 09725-5372