October 16, 2012 FEA Pacific Update

OCTOBER 16, 2012
Debra Degalis, FEA Pacific Area Director

Area Director Update
PGP Time Again
Have you checked your LES?
Do You Know your Negotiated Agreement? Article 12 -Grievance Procedure
Medical Travel
Professional Learning Teams/Community (PLT/PLC) vs CSI and Department Meetings
Learn about Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB)
Legal Eagle Corner -- Your Pay
Mark Your Calendars
Other Tidbits

Area Director Update: The Fall FRS and Joint Labor Management Trainings were a great success. Hoorah and thanks to our great FRSs and District Officers. Many thanks to our special guests and presenters, Michael Priser, FEA President and Michael Bauernfeind, FEA Pacific General Counsel. I also want to extend kudos to the Area and District Offices for their support and participation in the great JLMTs across the three districts. Labor Relations Specialist Steven Won, as well as the two DODDS legal advisors, Jonathan Beyer and Doug Frison, were participants in the training. After the trainings in all three districts, Priser and I thoroughly enjoyed our visits to Sasebo and Iwakuni schools in Southern Japan.

Between the last district training and the school visits, the Pacific Area Leaders with the Korea HCRC met with me and Michael Bauernfeind for our fall PAL Council meeting in Seoul, Korea, September 22-24. Y our issues were raised by the District Presidents and the Korea Human and Civil Rights Coordinator. A number of these issues were continued as "Action Items" for resolution.

In the fall we are asked that perennial question, "Should we join the FEA?" The answer is an unequivocal YES. "How do we need thee, let me count the ways." The FEA is our professional organization. Joining is our professional commitment to education. Many years ago I learned a simple truth. The FEA includes members and leaders and we are all working together for our profession and for each other, 24/7! It is the only organization that is there to help us navigate through the governmental morass that includes the Federal Government, the Department of Defense and the local military commands. Membership provides liability insurance, access to legal assistance and support from the National Education Association. Pay, medical coverage, overseas entitlements, Status of Forces Agreement entanglements, retirement and bargaining over working conditions are only a few of the matters that we take very seriously. If you know an educator who has not yet joined, please urge that person to increase our solidarity by becoming a member.

We are here for you and we are better because of you.

Recent and Upcoming AD Activities:

September 13 - 21 Pacific Fall FRS and Joint Labor Management Training
September 22 - 24 Pacific Area Leadership Council, Seoul, Korea
September 25 -27 Sasebo/Iwakuni Complex Visits
October 11 Zama High School Visit
October 13 NEATA Board Meeting
October 16 Laptop Initiative Steering Committee (VTC)
November 5-9 Korea School Visits
December 17-21 FEA Board of Directors Meeting

PGP Time Again: It is that time of year again when you are notified to discuss and sign off on you Professional Growth Plan. The PGP does not have to be tied to Continuing School Improvement goals. The PGP is your professional growth plan. Please contact your FRS if you have any questions or concerns. Attached is a PGP FAQ as well as the Educational Performance Appraisal System.

Have you checked your LES?: By now I hope you have carefully checked your LES to ensure that your pay lane, pay, LQA, and Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB)/health insurance and such are correct. Every year a teacher or two realizes that his/her health insurance was never initiated or had been stopped. If you are not sure how to read your LES, please contact your FRS or school secretary.

Do You Know your Negotiated Agreement? Article 12 -Grievance Procedure: The grievance procedure is an avenue that allows you to raise any matter of concern relating to your employment with management. It permits you and management to resolve issues informally and formally if necessary. Please read Article 12 and know your rights.

Employee and Dependent Medical Travel: I am fielding more and more concerns about health care travel as well as the lack of medical treatment especially in our small and remote bases. Medical travel, whether emergency or routine, is defined in the Joint Travel Regulations, Part M, Section C6600 Travel for Health Care. The Area Office is scrutinizing each request. To assist you in knowing the process, I am attaching the medical travel packet. Your school secretary has a copy and should be able to assist too. Your FRS and District President can also be resources.

Professional Learning Teams/Community (PLT/PLC) versus CSI and Department Meetings: There is a great deal of educational research regarding Professional Learning Teams/Communities. A brief hit to a search engine and you will be overwhelmed. Meetings proliferate. Just look at CSI, Department meetings, SST and CSC, just to mention a few shining examples. Combine these meetings with all of the new initiatives and figuring out what is what can be a daunting assignment. The current PLT/PLC Memorandum of Understanding is attached. The MOU clearly states that teachers voluntarily organize and participate in PLT/PLC. It is not a CSI or department meeting. Rather, it is an opportunity for teachers to work collaboratively on a professional goal chosen by the team.

Learn about your Federal Employee Health Benefits: Open Season is upon us. An American Foreign Services Protection Agency (AFSPA) representative will be visiting your complex in the near future. This is your opportunity to learn about your benefits and any upcoming changes for 2013. The visits are scheduled for November. Contact your FRS or District President for a visit in your area.

Pacific's Legal Eagle Corner:

Your pay is complicated, but you knew that. Here is a brief outline of the component parts.
1. BASE PAY -- Teachers work 190 days in a school year. No pay is earned during recess periods or Federal Holidays.

2. SETTING PAY - The DOD Wage and Salary Division establishes the Salary Schedules each year based upon survey data from the largest urban school districts within the United States. DODDS educator pay is set based upon the average salary from those surveyed districts. It normally takes until April or May to finish the surveys, bargain with the FEA and then post the changes. In recent years the base salary has increased very little. If stateside teacher salary packages include higher benefits, like dental and vision, these increases are unfortunately, not reflected in our survey. Hard economic conditions also have kept teacher salaries in the United States stagnant.

3. TEACHER RETRO PAY - Normally, in May or June you will see a lump sum payment constituting teacher retroactive pay. This amount is the recalculated pay for the current school year retroactive to 1 August. The law requires that your pay be based on the average salaries from the surveyed schools. Because it takes several months to collect the data and refigure your base salary, the adjustment is not received until later on in the school year. We are in a freeze right now.

4. DAILY RATE - The official daily rate for educators is the published salary schedule for the year divided by 190. DODEA posts the salary schedules for all educators and principals on the website. These schedules are prepared by the DOD Wage and Salary Division. Teaching Position salary schedules show Step Increases and Academic Salary Lanes.

5. STEP INCREASES - Annual Step Increases are granted each 1 August if the educator has been in a pay status for at least 150 days during the previous school year and has a satisfactory performance rating. Step increases are typically automatic. Increases for steps 15 through 18 require four years between steps. These are referred to as long steps. The 150 day rule applies to each of those four years.

6. ASL - Academic Salary Lane increases depend upon the number of graduate semester units earned by the educator in a qualifying area of higher learning. Once the final transcript is issued for the new degree or the qualifying units the educator has completed, an ASL change beginning on the pay period following the completion of the degree or units will be instituted. There is one caveat. If you wait longer than one year from the date of completion to notify DODDS, the salary change is only retroactive to the day that you notified DODDS. An association grievance filed by FEA Europe General Counsel Bill Freeman is challenging the way that DODDS sets pay based upon graduate units earned.

7. 21 vs. 26 PERIOD PAY -- You can receive your pay in 21 or 26 pay periods. You choose. The annual amount you receive is the same. It is just that the payout is amortized over the selected period. Under 21 period pay you receive 190 days of pay spread out over 213 days. This makes sure that pay is received during recess periods and holidays, when no income is earned. However you do not receive pay during the summer recess. Under 26 period pay you receive pay spread out over 261 days. Weekends are excluded. No pay is earned for Federal holidays. You do continue to receive pay during the summer recess.

8. INITIAL PAY SETTING -- DODDS will give you experience credit for up to ten years when you are initially hired. If you have prior DODDS or DDESS service, this experience will be added on top of your non-DODEA teaching time. Half year experience can be combined to equal one full year for pay setting purposes. Your graduate units and degrees will be scrutinized to make certain that your education has been obtained at a fully accredited college, recognized by DODEA.

9. OTHER PAY COMPONENTS -- In addition to base pay, income reflects Living Quarters Allowance, Post Allowance, Post Differential, Extra Duty Pay, travel reimbursements and early return to duty. Your pay is more complicated than this outline would indication. Believe me on that one!

Mark Your Calendars

October 15-19 National School Lunch Week
October 14-20 Earth Science Week
October 14-20 Teen Read Week
October 15-19 National School Bus Safety Week
October 16 World Food Day
October 20 National Day on Writing
October 21-27 National Character Counts Week
October 21-27 Nation Chemistry Week
October 24 United Nations Day
October 26 Eid al-Adha
October 27 Make a Difference Day
October 28 Statue of Liberty Dedication
October 29 National Organization for Women (NOW) Founding
October 30 Mix It Up at Lunch Day
October 31 Halloween

November American Indian Heritage Month
November was officially recognized as National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month in 1990 when President George H.W. Bush signed it into Public Law. See these sites for more information:
Native American Heritage Month website
American Indians/Alaska Natives: Education Issues
Native American Book List
November 4 End of Daylight Savings Time
November 6 Election Day
November 9 Fall of the Berlin Wall
November 11 Veterans Day
November 11-17 American Education Week
November 12-17 Bullying Awareness Week

For more information about any of these events, go to NEA's web site


Yen and Won Rates: To check the rates go to this page

Until the next update,

Debra S. Degalis
FEA Pacific Area Director