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January 21 2011 FEA Pacific Update

JANUARY 20, 2011
Debra Degalis, FEA Pacific Area Director


Area Director Update
Staffing Document/Transfer Program/Vacancies
VERA
Early Notice Award
Federal Benefits Open Season Elections/Changes
FEA MOUs
CTE (Career Technical Education) Certification Vouchers
Did You Know?
Annuity Estimates
Legal Eagle Corner
Mark Your Calendars
Other Tidbits


Area Director Update
This is my first update for 2011. Busy is the word for all of us. The first three days back in the office were spent catching up from the holiday break and preparing for my school visits. I traveled first to Yokosuka from January 6-8 with Brian Chance, NEA Director for FEA, and Jeannette Ferguson, NEATA President. We visited Yokosuka MS, Kinnick HS, and Sullivans ES and holding a general meeting for members on Thursday. On Friday, it was off to Ikego ES and in the afternoon on the toll road to Byrd ES in Yokohama. On Saturday, over twenty teachers spent their precious free time and attended the Leadership Training at Ikego ES. I want to thank all the FRSes and teachers who made our visit and training such a success.

On Sunday (January 9), it was off to Korea. Yes, it was cold and the heat worked while I was there, thank goodness! On Monday, I visited Seoul American ES, Seoul American MS, Seoul American ES and held a general meeting. After the meeting, I hopped on the shuttle to Osan. Tuesday I visited Osan American ES, Osan MS, and Osan American HS and held a general meeting. It snowed Tuesday night and Evelyn Tatum, Humphreys FRS, braved the icy roads early in the morning and drove to Osan to pick me up so that I could visit Humphreys ES and the Virtual School. She also drove me back to Osan. The roads were much better then, and I found myself on another bus for a four hour ride to Daegu. On Thursday, Bill Riggs, TEAK President, drove me to CT Joy in Chinhae. We were able to visit classrooms and meet with the teachers for lunch. It was back to Daegu and on Friday, I spent the day at Daegu American School and was amazed at the number of teachers who attended a general meeting after their work day on a Friday. After our meeting, I was off in a cab to the airport to return to Japan. To all the Korea FRS's and teachers who took care of me, I want to thank you for your kindness and generosity.

This week has been back to the catch-up mode. I have been working with FEA Pacific General Counsel, Michael Bauernfeind, the Presidents and the Area Office on a number of issues. Thank you all for responding to inquiries sent by your FRS, President and me. Your input is vital. Attached are the signed and finalized October Pacific Area JCC minutes.

Upcoming AD Activities
January 22 NEATA Board Meeting
February Japan School visits TBD
February 22-25 Okinawa School Visits and Area JCC
February 26-28 PAL Council Meeting in Okinawa

Staffing Documents/Transfer/Vacancies
We are still waiting for staffing documents. These documents will help determine the number of teachers a school needs as well as possible excess and vacancies. At this time there has been no further word on the Transfer Program. The attached Memorandum Of Understanding [MOU] requires that vacancies opening up during the second semester will be included within the Transfer Program and the Excess Procedure for the Pacific. Please help your FRS ensure that vacancies are reported. The success of the Transfer Program depends on those vacancies. The FRS should notify the President so he/she can work with DSO and if necessary any discrepancies can be reported to me.

VERA
DoDEA is offering Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) for up to 200 positions. January 25, 2011 is the suspense date. Contact your school secretary and principal if you have not received the notice.

Federal Benefits Open Season/Elections Changes
If you made changes during the Federal Benefits Open Season, the changes should be reflected in your LES. FSA and or FED/VIP changes were effective 01/01/11 and Federal Health Benefits (FEHB) changes were effective 01/02/11. Please check your 01/21/11 LES to insure that these changes were made and are correct. Your school secretary has the contact information if you have any questions or concerns.

FEA MOU's
FEA works with DoDEA throughout the year on a number of agreements. Two recent MOUs have been negotiated regarding an AdvanceED survey and Common Access Card (CAC) for educator and staff personal computers. To stay updated, check the FEA website. You must have your member login number. http://www.feaonline.org/passport/legal/mous.htm

Career Technical Education (CTE) Certification Vouchers
Once again DoDEA has enacted changes to Certification Vouchers for students at the last minute. I sent a notice to the high school and middle school FRS's yesterday requesting input from CTE teachers, if your students have been affected. If you feel that your students should have been able to take the test but were denied, please send the name of the class and number of students (no names) to Anita Lang, FEA Secretary/Treasurer. She is in Outlook.

Did you Know?
A teacher's work day is comprised of the student instructional day and duty day. Your duty day is your report and release time. It is recognized that the monthly faculty meeting may extend a little beyond the duty day; however, if you are being directed to attend meetings after the students are released, you need to let your administrator know that your work day is over. Article 45, Section One of the Negotiated Agreement is clear.

The school workday for unit employees, except dormitory counselors, shall commence not more than twenty (20) minutes before and terminate not more than thirty (30) minutes after the instructional day.

If you are asked or required to attend other meetings, especially on a regular basis beyond your duty day, you are entitled to compensation. You must record with dates all of the time spent beyond the duty day. If this is happening to you, contact your FRS.

Pacific Legal Eagle Corner

1. During the time that you receive Temporary Quarters Subsistence Allowance you are not authorized Post Allowance or Living Quarters Allowance. There is a limited exception regarding LQA. When you are making a Permanent Change of Station move and must clear your quarters you are authorized to overlap entitlements for a short period of time.

2. You left DODDS years ago and cashed out your retirement contributions when you left. Now you are back in DODDS and want to pay back the contributions you took out. What can be done? If you were in Civil Service Retirement System [CSRS] at that time you can make a Redeposit. Redeposits are sums of money paid into the retirement fund by an employee or survivor to cover a period of service during which CSRS deductions were withheld but later refunded. There is interest to pay back as well. There were years when the percentage rate was as high as 13%.

Refunded Federal Employee Retirement System [FERS] contributions cannot be redeposited.

3. Employee and Dependent Medical Travel also known as Health Care Travel is a DOD benefit of tremendous value, both financially and emotionally. Often members are faced with serious injuries or illnesses for which there is no local medical treatment available. In these emergency situations the member needs to return to the United States immediately for treatment. Knowing that DODDS will pay for a round trip flight for you and an escort back to the States is a real comfort. While your escort remains with you during your hospitalization per diem is authorized. Even if a member of your family needs the medical treatment the same benefits apply. There are some hoops you will have to jump through. You must have approval from the Superintendent's office prior to boarding the aircraft. You must have medical authorization certifying that reasonable medical care is not available locally. Medical emergencies can include dental and obstetric problems as well.

4. Big Brother a la George Orwell? Maybe not. DODDS has video cameras placed in all of its schools. The recordings can be helpful in defending cases of child abuse or establishing who is placing libelous material in mailboxes, or example. Here is what the DODDS policy is:

DoDDS PACIFIC SECURITY CAMERA POLICY

1. Purpose: Enhance the security and safety of students, school staff, equipment, and facilities by monitoring and recording for intrusion, theft, vandalism, or other illegal, disruptive, or inappropriate activities during, and after, school hours.

2. Permissible Areas:
a. Exterior: Building entrances and approaches, playgrounds, parking lots, and bus loading areas.
b. Interior (may be turned off when individual classes are being conducted):
(1) Common areas such as hallways, stairs, elevators, and the inside of building entrances.
(2) Multi-purpose rooms/cafeterias.
(3) School office.
(4) Gymnasiums, auditoriums, and information centers.

3. Prohibited Areas:
a. Toilets, shower rooms, locker rooms, and dressing areas.
b. Individual teaching/work stations (unless these are incidental to viewing an area included in the list of permissible locations above).
c. Private offices.
d. Faculty/staff lounges and workrooms.


5. DoDDS and DDESS were created by totally different statutes. This accounts for the differences between the two school systems. While there has been some movement over the years to integrate the systems this has not happened. Here is a short comparison list:
DDESS only credits 5 years of non-Federal experience and DoDDS credits 10 years.

DDESS also starts at step 0 and DoDDS starts at step 1. A new teacher with 10 years of creditable experience teaching in public schools in the U.S. would start at step 5 with DDESS and step 11 with DoDDS. DoDDS teachers who move to DDESS positions "could" lose up to 5 years of experience credit. However, based on years of experience credited on each pay scale and education earned, the base pay when transferring from DoDDS to DDESS may go down, may stay the same, or may increase.

DDESS has a pay lane for the EDS degree. DoDDS does not.

DoDDS employees receive overseas allowances [ LQA, Post Allowance, Separate Maintenance Allowance, etc.]. DDESS employees receive only their salary. However, DDESS Guam employees receive COLA which is gradually being phased out and replaced with locality pay.

DoDDS employees are eligible for RAT and separation travel to their home of record. DDESS employees do not get RAT and when they retire or quit, they do not get a move to their home of record. DDESS Guam employees on transportation agreements get RAT when they complete their tour which is 2 years.

DoDDS has 18 steps in their pay schedule and DDESS has 29.

Both DoDDS and DDESS employees work 190 days per school year.

DDESS teachers earn 12 days of sick leave and 3 days personal leave per school year. Educators may accrue up to 6 days of personal leave. Any personal leave accrued beyond 6 days is converted to sick leave.

DoDDS teachers must take a half-day or whole-day of leave as a minimum. DDESS teachers can take leave in 15-minute increments.

Each DDESS district has an Emergency Leave Bank for educators that they can donate leave to, and then can request leave for a catastrophic/emergency problem. This leave is only for the teacher who is experiencing the problem, not for care of family members, and must have medical documentation to support the request. DODDS teachers can only donate Any Purpose Leave to a colleague in need of leave because of a severe medical situation.

DDESS teachers do not sign a mobility agreement and do not participate in the Transfer Program, except for Guam DDESS teachers in Guam.

Other benefits such as retirement, health benefits, life insurance, social security, injury compensation, and TSP are the same for DoDDS and DDESS.


Mark Your Calendars:
Black History Month February
Read Across America March 2

Other Tidbits
2011 Library of Congress Summer Teacher Institutes - The Library of Congress is now accepting applications for its 2011 Summer Teacher Institutes in Washington, D.C. The five-day institutes will provide educators with the tools and resources to effectively integrate primary sources into classroom teaching.

Institutes will take place on the following dates:
Session 1 May 23- 27, 2011
Session 2 June 6-10, 2011
Session 3 June 13-17, 2011
Session 4 July 11-15, 2011 (Civil War Focus)
Session 5 July 18-22, 2011
Session 6 August 1-5, 2011
Session 7 August 8-12, 2011

There is no charge for the Institute or materials but participants must cover costs for travel to Washington, DC and cost for lodging and meals while in Washington. Participants may earn 3 graduate credits from George Mason University for completing all Summer Teacher Institute requirements.

Application Deadline: February 4, 2011
Learn more and apply

More Library of Congress educational opportunities-
Library of Congress: Self Directed Professional Development

National Endowment of the Humanities - http://www.neh.gov/projects/si-school.html
I have participated in several NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) summer seminars/institutes. These are wonderful opportunities for professional development. ( Brian Chance) Please note the suspense date: The application deadline is March 1, 2011 (postmark). Plan ahead to complete the application on time. These seminars and institutes are offered by NEH -- not DoDEA.

Annuity Estimates for Retirement - DLA has the following web site those who want an annuity estimate: http://www.hr.dla.mil/resources/benefits/retire.html Print a copy of the submission for your record.

You can also go into EBIS for an annuity estimate. If all federal service was with DoDDS and with no breaks in service with DoDDS, the estimate in EBIS will be the same they would receive from DLA. There will be no difference.

Worth Repeating
NEA Health Information Network - Did you know there are a number of vaccines recommended for adults? Did you know that the viral disease known as shingles is increasing for older adults? Did you know that even though tetanus is rare in the U.S. adults over the age of 50 accounts for 70 percent of tetanus infections? To learn more visit www.neahin.org

Computer Safety Website - NEA supports the organization "bNetS@vvy". It is an organization offering trusted one-shop stop for information, tools and links to high-quality resources helping young teens stay safe online. www.bnetsavvy.org

Federal Retirement Website - FEA Europe Area Director Chuck McCarter shared the following website with me. I checked it out and subscribed for their newsletters. http://www.myfederalretirement.com/public/709.cfm

Yen and Won Rates - To check the rates go to https://webapps.dodea.edu/lqarates/lqarates.cfm

Until the next update,


Debra S. Degalis
FEA Pacific Area Director