September 24, 2014 FEA Europe Update

Alex's Update


1. Recently
2. Association Day
3. OPM Open Season
4. Current Mileage Rates
5. Rankings of the States
6. Update
7. Contacting You
8. Good News
9. Hispanic Heritage Month
11. Non-Temporary Storage
12. Future Educators Association
13. SF 50's
14. Area JCC
15. American Foreign Services

1. Recently -- The beginning of a school year is always very busy for all of us and this year, for me, has been no exception. During the second week of September into the third all Contract Trainings were held in Europe. I would especially like to thank everyone who made these trainings so successful, including all of our guest speakers. It would be impossible to name everyone that contributed but it was a real team effort. On September 12-13 the European Area Council met in Wiesbaden and had a very productive meeting. One of the issues addressed with the Area Office was the fact that all school websites were including links to the ICE comment web page. Since these comments often are negative towards school staff (and anonymous) the Council as a whole did not think that a school website was the most appropriate venue for these icons. We discussed it with the Area office and I am glad to report that they are in the process of being removed from the websites.

On September 12 I was notified that there was an important workshop being held in Vicenza, Italy at the DSO there. The topics were 21st Century Schools and Project Based Learning. (I will share more later.) As a result, I spent all of last week in Vicenza. Because of this, I was unable to publish an Update last week and I beg your indulgence on that. I also may have fallen behind on some emails, but I am feverishly working at this moment to catch up. My plans for this week are to stay right here in my office in Vilseck.

2. .Association Day - Another successful meeting during this time was Association Day, which was held at the Wiesbaden Army Air Base on Saturday, September 13. Those in attendance were treated to remarks by many distinguished guests, most notably by FEA President Chuck McCarter and Executive Director and General Counsel H.T. Nguyen. Also, we would like to thank the NEA for allowing Earl Wiman, a member of the NEA Executive Committee, to travel to Germany and also address our members. A lunch was provided and a good and informative time was had by all.

3. Office of Personnel Management Open Season -Each year, Open Season runs from the Monday of the second full workweek in November through the Monday of the second full workweek in December. This year, Open Season runs from November 10, 2014 through December 8, 2014.This is an opportunity to change insurance plans and to elect other Federal benefits, such as the flexible savings accounts. While it is still a while away it doesn't hurt to start thinking about this now since the Open Season coincides with one of the busiest times of the year. For further information, click here.

4. Current Mileage Rates -- (self-explanatory) Click here.

5. Rankings of the States -- I discovered an interesting report on the NEA website that deals with a number of statistics in the States, including population factors, student enrollment numbers, greatest enrollment increases, declines, and so on. While DoDEA is not included in this report, it is still extremely interesting to note stateside trends in regards to education. You can read the report here.

6. Update- All of the trainings and meetings recently have disrupted to some extant the publishing of these Updates, but as things settle down I hope to get back in to a normal routine. We will always let you know if something newsworthy comes up. In the meantime, check regularly with for your best source for breaking news.

7. Contacting You - Please make sure that we have the current FRS/FR's at your school on our mailing lists so that our information can be shared quickly. FEA Europe makes every effort to get out accurate and important information as quickly as possible. Lisa and I will alternate sending out Updates, normally on Wednesday each week. We will continue to update our mailing lists as corrections come in. Please send all corrections, additions, deletions, and new names to your Area Director.

8 Good News -- Following is a re-posting of a message from FEA President Chuck McCarter in his update on September 6. It is potentially very good news and I want to be sure that all of you have seen it. One caveat -- details have not yet been worked out so stay tuned. Still, it is a good start.

I wanted to share some potentially very good news I learned this week in a meeting with DoDEA Director Thomas Brady:

Mr. Brady has told me that he intends to have a transfer program this school year. The budget, criteria, and process still need to be worked out, but the intent is that there will be a transfer program.

FEA knows how important a robust transfer program is to our DODDS members, particularly those in hardship areas. I know our members in the field and those who spoke with Mr. Brady at the FEA Annual Membership Meeting he attended this summer have repeatedly emphasized this point to him.

We will update you as we can while particulars of this expected transfer program are worked out during the school year.

9. Hispanic Heritage Month -- September 15 was the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, and it will continue until October 15. Much information has already been shared by others in regards to this special month, and here is a little bit more.

10. Mark Your Calendars --
September 15 -- October 15 -- Hispanic Heritage Month
September 25 -- Rosh Hashanah
October 4 -- Yom Kippur
October 13 -- Columbus Day (No school)

11. Non-Temporary Storage: Goods in Storage: If you have goods in storage, you should normally receive a "fund cite" in September. The fund citations for the storage are done on a fiscal year basis. DoDEA notifies the storage companies of the new fund citations and employees about the same time. The notices go initially to the school secretary, who should distribute them to employees. If you have not received a notice, please check first with your school secretary.

12 Future Educators Association -- We have a number of high schools in Europe with very active FEA groups. They serve a very worthwhile purpose in helping to ensure that there will be quality educators for generations to come. You can find information about this organization at the following link. I am including this now because of the fact that there are some notable deadlines approaching. One of the notable dates is that local chapters must register with the parent organization by September 30.

13. SF-50's -- At the beginning of the school year, you should have received a new SF-50, showing your return to duty status, etc. If you have not, please check with your school secretary. Once you receive this, double check to insure that all the information is correct and save this for your records.

14. Area JCC -- The next Area JCC is scheduled to be held in Wiesbaden on Wednesday, October 1.

15. American Foreign Services -- The American Foreign Services Protective Association will be traveling through Europe in the coming months to give presentations on the various insurance packages that they offer. While this is a very good company please be aware that there are other quality insurers that also will be visiting during the year. FEA will alert you when we get their plans. Attached is the schedule of visits for the AFSPA.

Alex Veto
FEA Europe Area Director