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March 1 2011 FEA President's Report

To: FEA Members and Local Leaders Worldwide
From: Michael Priser, FEA President
Re: FEA President's Report
Date: March 1, 2011


TRANSFER PROGRAM -- The deadline to apply for this spring's DoDDS transfer program was last Friday, February 25. However, those of you who did apply may amend your transfer applications until 5 p.m. EST on Wednesday, March 9, 2011.

FEA members are reminded to visit www.feaonline.org/transfers.htm to access our Tips for Transfers, Transfer FAQs and other useful information. Member login, using your FEA ID number, may be required to view some information.

In addition, FEA members are encouraged to take advantage of our transfer verification service, exclusively for FEA members. Send a copy of the final version of your transfer application to Connie Shanaghan at our Washington office and she will verify that it is included in the transfer program. Be sure to send a copy of only the absolute FINAL version of your transfer application to avoid any confusion. FEA members can send copies of their applications to Connie as follows:
Via email at feaadmin@nea.org
Via fax at 202-822-7867
Via regular mail at:
FEA
ATTN: Transfer Verification
1201 16th Street, NW
Suite 117
Washington, DC 20036

FEA must receive the copy of your transfer application by 5 p.m. EST on Friday, March 11, in order to include it in our verification service. The transfer round is scheduled to begin on Monday, March 14.

GOVERNMENT SHUT DOWN -- The White House and Congress continue work toward a budget compromise that will hopefully avoid a potential shutdown of the federal government. At this point, no one seems sure what the odds are of that shutdown happening. The natural question for FEA members is: "In the event of a shutdown, what happens to DoDEA schools?" FEA has been working with NEA and with DoDEA to be sure Congress is not forgetting about our students' education in the event of a government-wide shutdown. Though we can't guarantee things will be the same this time, DoDEA schools were exempted from the last government shutdown in 1995-96. We remain optimistic both sides of the budget fight will agree that the education of our students is a vital function and should not be interrupted while this political battle is played out.

IN THE NEWS -- Public employee unions, such as FEA, have been getting a lot of attention in the media lately. Some of this attention was addressed in the February FEA Journal, mailed recently to all members. We encourage all members to visit our Web site at www.feaonline.org to learn more about these issues (please do so on your own time and using your own personal computer).

READ ACROSS AMERICA -- Tomorrow, March 2, is NEA's Read Across America day. Each year, millions of people pick up a book and read to or with a child to celebrate the importance of reading and the legacy of Dr. Seuss. FEA members always stage fantastic reading events and we ask you to share photos of your events with us by sending them to fea@feaonline.org or ghritz@nea.org.

DEPARTURE TAX -- On January 1, Germany began charging a departure tax. Passengers departing Germany will be expected to pay additional fees depending upon the length of their flight -- equivalent to about $10.60 for short intra-Europe flights, $33 for medium-distance flights outside the European Union, and $59 for longer trips. This tax is reimbursable if the travel is for official purposes.

TRAVEL ORDERS -- Anyone issued travel orders recently may have noticed the words "subject to available funds" printed on the orders. A few members have asked whether this language should prevent them from making summer travel arrangements at this time. It is FEA's view that there is no reason to delay making such travel plans. The same language has appeared on travel orders in the past. It usually occurs when DoD is operating under a continuing resolution instead of an approved budget, meaning nothing can technically be encumbered. Eventually Congress will act to officially fund DoD and DoDEA will honor the terms of our negotiated agreement.

FEDERAL ORGANIZATION CLIMATE SURVEY -- On March 7, DoDEA will be releasing the Federal Organization Climate Survey for all employees. FEA has been working with DoDEA Headquarters on this survey, which addresses meeting the diversity needs of employees in the workplace. While this survey is focused on Federal agencies, FEA was able to insert a number of questions that specifically relate to students and the educational environment. We encourage all educators to take time to complete this survey during the two week period when it is available.

STATESIDE VISITS -- I will be visiting Fort Bragg schools tomorrow (March 2), along with FEA Executive Director/General Counsel H.T. Nguyen and Director of Communications & Membership Development Gary Hritz. H.T. will be addressing the membership at Bragg after school about various issues affecting the membership. Fort Bragg Association of Educators President Grace Merkle will be sending out information on this meeting to the members at Bragg. My thanks to Grace for coordinating this
On Thursday, H.T., Gary and I will be driving from Bragg to the Stateside Area Council meeting in Myrtle Beach, SC, where we will be hearing from the Stateside leaders about the issues and concerns of their members and updating all of them on the latest news and developments affecting our schools and our Association.

WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH -- March is Women's History Month. For resources and materials you can use in the classroom to observe this event, go to http://www.nea.org/tools/womens-history-month.html

I hope you all have a great Read Across America day and a wonderful week!