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October 13 2011 FEA Pacific Update

OCTOBER 13, 2011
Debra Degalis, FEA Pacific Area Director


Area Director Update
Thanks
ASPEN and GRADESPEED-- keep your leaders informed
Professional Growth Plan (PGP)
NEA Members Benefits Representative Visit
Open Season and AFSPA Visitors
Non-Temporary Storage
Pupil Grades -- Article 51
Pay Lane steps and Certification
Legal Eagle Corner --
Mark Your Calendars
Other Tidbits


Area Director Update: How can it be mid-October? September was a whirlwind with the Fall FRS and Joint Labor Management Trainings followed by the Pacific Area Leaders (PAL) Council and a visit to our newest Pacific school, Casey Unit School, north of Seoul. You know the drill. There are numerous emails waiting to be opened, answered and filed. Both Michael Bauernfeind and I found ourselves extra busy upon on returns to our respective offices. Thank you for your patience and understanding. If you sent an email and have not received a response, please send it again with a gentle reminder.

The FRS trainings were a success. Michael Bauernfeind and I enjoyed the extra time we had this year to cover subjects and field questions from the FRSs. We all benefited. Pre-Decisional Involvement and building relationships were the themes for the JLMT this year. The sessions were led by Federal Mediation Conciliation Services (FMCS) representatives, Scott Blake and Gary Eder. The Pacific is fortunate that our principals, superintendents, Labor Management Specialist, legal staffs and District Officers have the opportunity to work together for an entire day. The time together allows us to better understanding of our system, the Negotiated Agreement as well a deepen trust relationships. Even though FEA President Michael Priser was participating in the Advisory Committee on Dependents Education, he was able to attend a session in Tokyo, speak to the NEATA Board during their Saturday meeting and attend the AEAO Teachers Social. He was also able to speak with teachers in the Yokosuka complex. The ACDE is a statutorily mandated group of senior Government officials charged with monitoring DOD educational progress for DOD dependents. FEA Executive Director/General Counsel H.T. Nguyen was split between Europe, Pacific and DDESS, so he was only able to attend the Okinawa FRS and JLMT trainings and social. We are also thankful that FEA Vice President BettyLou Cummins and FEA Human and Civil Rights Coordinator Naomi Cuadrado were able to visit and get to know the Pacific a little better.

Thanks: The Pacific Area Leadership Council meeting in Yongsan, Korea was another success. My visit to Casey Unit School helps to understand some of the unique problems faced by members living next to the DMZ. Let me thanks especially some of the Association local leaders to helped to make the fall training sessions such a success. Here we go! Trevor Stanton, NEATA Treasurer/Membership for making all of the New Sanno arrangements; Don Kinghorn, AEAO President, for chauffeuring all of us around Okinawa; Jennifer Matthews, AEAO ES VP, for making billeting reservations; Joan Oana for arranging the TEAK meeting rooms and refreshments; Chad Jimison, TEAK HCRC, for last minute PAL Council meeting arrangements and of course the District Presidents, Jeannette Ferguson, Betty Gossett and Don Kinghorn for insuring our visits were a success.

Upcoming AD Activities:

October 17-21 FEA Board of Directors Meeting, FEA HQ, Washington D.C.
October 28 Kanto Plain Educator Day
November 4 Pacific Area Advisory Council Meeting, Yokota Air Base
November 19 NEATA Board Meeting


ASPEN and GRADESPEED : Please keep your FRS and leaders of informed of any concerns. Teachers Grades K-3: A MOU has not been negotiated for the use of report cards in ASPEN. Past practice is still in place. Use of Aspen for K-3 report cards is voluntary only. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your FRS.

Professional Growth Plan (PGP): Soon it will be time (November 15) for PGPs to be turned in and discussed with your principal. Attached is a facts, questions and answers sheet.

NEA Members Benefits Visit: Michael Gavin, NEA Members Benefits representative, is currently visiting Pacific members. Please check with your FRS for a visit near you.

Open Season and AFSPA Visitors: The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) open season runs November 14 -- December 12, 2011. American Foreign Service Protection Agency representatives are visiting the Pacific next month. This is a great opportunity for you to learn about your FEHB and any upcoming changes for next season. A flyer is attached with the items covered by the AFSPA representatives. Your FRS will be sending you the date, time and place in your area.

Non-Temporary Storage: For those of you with goods in storage stateside, you should be receiving the yearly NTS letters. These letters inform you of the fund citation for the fiscal year and DoDEA informs the storage sites around the same time. The letters are sent to the school secretaries who deliver it to you. If you have not received your NTS fund citation letter, please check with your school secretary.
You may have noticed in the letter, the information for contacts was dated 2009. Ms. Maschio, Pacific Head HR Specialist, provided the following contact information:

Ed Bennis, Japan
Amina Ridge, Korea
Nettie Webb, Okinawa and Area Office

Until the new language is on the letters, the employee may contact us at the DLA DoDEA-Pacific Team Line at 614-692-2225/DSN 850-2225 or via email at DHRC-DDODEADAPS-PAC@dla.mil.

Pupil Grades- Article 51: Thanks to Alex Veto, FEA Europe Area Director, for reminder of the following which is in the Negotiated Agreement:
ARTICLE 51 - PUPIL GRADES

Section 1. A unit employee may establish his/her own grading system. In such cases, the unit employee is responsible for translating the grading system to the Employer's. The unit employee's record of grades shall contain a key for translating his/her system to the established grading system in use. 

Section 2. Students' grades may be requested for review and approval by the Employer before grade reports are distributed to students or parents. 

Section 3. In the event that any grade is challenged, the unit employee shall explain and justify the grade assigned. 

Section 4. If the Employer takes action to change a student's grade without the consent of the affected unit employee or directs the unit employee to change a grade, a written statement from the Employer shall be provided to the unit employee, stating that the change in grade and/or the passing or failing of the student was done at the discretion of the Employer.

Pacific's Legal Eagle Corner:



Hiring Preference: Applicants for positions within DODDS are selected for referral to a local principal based on a hiring priority established within DODEA. The ranked categories are:

Current DDESS employees,
Internal Candidates (Part-time employees and other Federal Employees)
Family Members
All other candidates

Within each category they are listed by a rating score. Family Member Preference is the same for spouses of military members and spouses of DOD civilians, including educators. The Preference Program makes certain that locally available applicants are referred for selection prior to using Continental United States [CONUS] recruitment. DODEA Regulation 1400.13 states that:

4.2.1. Local applicants may be selected at any time during the school year for employment in the current school year. Preference will be given to fully qualified dependents of DoD military and civilian personnel who are stationed in the area.

POV Replacement: A little know section of the Joint Travel Regulations allows an educator to have a vehicle shipped to the overseas duty station every four years at Government expense. Here are the pertinent sections of the JTR on Privately Owned Vehicle transportation.
C5232 REPLACEMENT POV TRANSPORTATION

A. General. When a POV, transported at government expense to an overseas is no longer adequate for the traveler's transportation needs, the Secretarial Process may authorize transportation of a replacement POV.

B. Emergency Replacement. Emergency POV replacement may be authorized when the reasons for the need of a replacement POV are:

1. Beyond the traveler's control (e.g., the POV is stolen, seriously damaged, destroyed, or has deteriorated due to severe climatic conditions).

C. Non-emergency POV replacement may be authorized when:

1. The traveler is stationed continuously overseas during a 4-year period and the POV being replaced has worn out due to age and normal deterioration, and
2. It is in the GOV'T's interest that the traveler continues to have a POV at the overseas location.

Renewal Agreement Travel: Assuming that you began school at the normal time in August you should be able to renegotiate a travel agreement providing for return to home of record in the States for you and your family. Most tours of duty are for two years, some are for only one year. Once you sign a new agreement you are committed to work for the full tour. This is defined in the regulations as a minimum of 175 days during a school year. If you are in an approved leave status, those days count towards the 175 days. For example, if you take two weeks of educator leave for illness in the immediate family these leave days count towards working the 175 days. If you are in an approved Leave Without Pay status this time also counts towards meeting the minimum. For example, you take Family and Medical Leave Act time for 12 weeks. All of this time is approved and consequently it is counted towards that magical minimum number needed to fulfill your RAT agreement. There has been confusion in the past over whether LWOP counts or does not count. New confirmation from DODEA makes it certain that approved LWOP will work.

The JTR is based on the tour of duty established by Title 5 United States Code, Section 7522, which states that, "An agency may pay expenses only after the individual has served a minimum of one school year as determined under chapter 25 of title 20, if employed in a teaching position. The key words here are "served" and "employed". A teacher on leave without pay is considered to be "serving and employed." Therefore, authorized LWOP counts towards service under the renewal agreement.

Nursing Mothers: Former Human and Civil Rights Coordinator for Japan Gordon Lyn-Cook alerted us to a possible new benefit for nursing mothers. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act employers are required to provide "reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child's birth each time such employee has need to express the milk." Employers are also required to provide "a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk." Unfortunately, this provision does not currently apply to Excepted Service employees like DODDS educators. The Association is following the trend and will update the membership as more information is forthcoming.

Mark Your Calendars

October Bully Prevention Month http://www.nea.org/home/NEABullyFreeSchools.html
October 17-21 FEA Board of Directors Meeting
October 20 National Day of Writing
October 31 Halloween
November National Native American Heritage Month
November 13-19 American Education week

OTHER TIDBITS



Stay Informed: FEA and NEA provide a wealth of information to you. Visit www.feaonline.org, www.nea.org, www.neaacademy.org, www.neamb.com. Remember to have your membership ID ready in order to access information for members only. You will find your ID number on your membership card. Instructions for new members to gain access to feaonline.org are at http://feaonline.org/passport/

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