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October 16 2013 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: October 16, 2013

SHUTDOWN

As I write this update, there is more and more talk in Washington of a potential deal to end the government shutdown and extend the government's debt ceiling. We have been fortunate that, so far, our schools have been largely unaffected by this situation and our members have continued to be paid while hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal workers have not. The situation is changing rapidly and we hope to have some sort of resolution soon. You are all to be congratulated for remaining calm and professional throughout this situation and never being distracted from your calling of educating students. Designating DoDEA schools as essential services to be exempted from the shutdown was unquestionably the right call by the Pentagon and you all have performed admirably throughout the shutdown. Keep up the good work!


CHECK YOUR PAY

You should make a habit of checking your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) every time to make sure there are no errors, but we encourage you to take an especially close look at your most recent LES, from October 11. Most FEA members (those who were declared "excepted" employees during the shutdown) should have received your normal pay amount, as well as any LQA and Post Allowance. The only things such employees would not have been paid for would be any un-paid leave before the shutdown began October 1 and any absences from work October 1-4. Employees who were considered furloughed the first week of the shutdown would similarly not receive pay for non-paid leave prior to October 1 but would also not be paid for your regularly-scheduled work days on October 1-4. It is expected that, once the shutdown is resolved, such furloughed employees will eventually receive back pay for the time they were not allowed to work. FEA will litigate any remaining leave or pay issues caused by the shutdown/furloughs. FEA provides a pay organizer you can use to keep track of your pay throughout the year. That organizer is available at http://www.feaonline.org/passport/salary/organizer.htm (member login is required).


SUBMIT YOUR INFO FOR GRADUATE CREDIT PAY CASE

If you suspect DODDS did not properly recognize graduate credits you had earned June 2001 or later, and your pay was not adjusted to reflect these graduates credits in a timely manner, you should immediately read the legal updates from FEA UniServ Attorney Bill Freeman, available at http://feaonline.org/passport/legal/updates/graduate_credit_3.htm, and submit your pay information and affidavit to Bill as explained in his updates. In Bill's words, "this is probably your last chance" to be included in the eventual settlement of this case, so you must act immediately. Also, Bill has some very specific advice to anyone who is or thinks they may be covered by this case:

"Please remember that you are represented by (FEA) counsel. I am at a very sensitive stage in these proceedings. If you get any questions, instructions, or announcements from admin, refer them to me. Do not respond in any way. Do not apply for the lane change on your own. You may compromise your case. There are many landmines to avoid. You will most certainly complicate and delay ultimate resolution if you take any actions on your own."

Bill estimates at least 250 current and former DODDS educators are owed money under this case. Winning the initial case was a huge victory for FEA members. Good luck to Bill and all affected members as this situation continues moving towards its final resolution.


AMERICAN EDUCATION WEEK

American Education Week is coming up November 18-22, 2013. Now is the time to start planning your celebration. The NEA Website has great information and tips for celebrating AEW at this page. In addition, FEA has provided a sample article about AEW you can submit to your on-base publication or other local media. That article is available as a downloadable Word file and can be found on our Home page at www.feaonline.org. Great things happen everyday in our schools. Now is your chance to let your community know about all the good work we do. Don't be shy -- blow your own horn!


PREVENT BULLYING

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. If you've never done so, this is a great opportunity to visit NEA's Bully Free: It Starts With Me Web site and check out the many resources and materials available to you. The subject of bullying has finally begun to receive the attention it requires. Hopefully you can find some information on this site you can use in your classroom or school.


CSP

FEA has gone on record with our concerns about the proposed Community Strategic Plan (CSP). FEA has formally requested that this plan be held in abeyance pending bargaining.


BAS ACTIVITY LOG

Some FEA members in Korea created a fillable version of the log sheet we had posted for members to record their Benchmark Assessment System (BAS)-related activities this school year. Thanks very much to these members for sharing this form with us. You can access the fillable PDF form and read FEA's updates about the BAS issue (including instructions on how to log your activity time) by going to FEA's BAS Legal Update. Please note, the PDF form allows you to type your data onto the form but it does not submit that data to FEA's Washington office; you must print out the completed form and send it to us yourself per the instructions in the update cited above.