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March 18, 2013, FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Michael Priser, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: March 18, 2013

FURLOUGHS -- We continue to await any definitive word from DoDEA or the Pentagon about possible furlough plans for DoDEA schools. We are optimistic that if furloughs do happen, they will be far less than the 22 potential furlough days that were initially talked about. But FEA's position remains that even a single furlough day is unnecessary and inflicts too much inconvenience and disturbance into the education of military dependents and the lives of their families. FEA and NEA continue knocking on every door in Washington, educating decision makers about the importance of DoDEA schools and urging them to recognize our schools as "critical services" that should be exempt from the furlough threat. DoDEA Director Marilee Fitzgerald has also formally requested such recognition from the Pentagon, but her request has yet to be acted upon. Because the Pentagon is required to give employees at least 30 days notice before beginning any furloughs and some DDESS schools are scheduled to finish their school year as early as May 29, we believe the Pentagon will have to make a decision this week about any possible furloughs for this school year. We will continue to keep our members posted on any developments as well as continue to push our case against ANY furloughs to anyone we can reach.

WHAT CAN I DO? -- We urge all members and everyone who places the education of military dependents above politics to visit our Web site at www.feaonline.org and learn what they can do to oppose the potential furloughs.

ATTENTION EXCESS EDUCATORS -- Any permanent DoDDS educator that has been declared excess (including those who volunteered to be excessed) must submit their online application to the Excess Placement Program Module by 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time this coming Friday, March 22, in order to be considered for placement. You can get complete information about this process, including a link to the online application and lists of teaching positions and schools, by going to http://www.feaonline.org/passport/issues/VSIP_Excess.htm

TIPS FOR EXCESS PLACEMENT -- FEA's Connie Shanaghan has put together a list of tips and information for excess employees to consider when filling out their Excess Placement Program online application. Like anything new, this Excess Placement Program is sure to generate a lot of questions and more than a little confusion. Please take a look at the information Connie has put together and use it to help you maximize your chances of getting an excess placement you will enjoy. If you have already filled out your online application, you may amend it anytime before the 5 p.m. EDT March 22 deadline.

VERIFICATION SERVICE -- FEA will be providing verification services to our members for both the VSIP/VERA program and the Excess Placement Program. If you are an FEA member who applied for VERA/VSIP and would like FEA to verify that your name is on the list, please send an email to feaadmin@nea.org by Friday, March 22, requesting verification. Similarly, if you are an FEA member who has been declared excess and would like us to verify that your application has been included in the Excess Placement Program, please send a copy of your FINAL application by Wednesday, April 3, to feaadmin@nea.org or fax it to 202-822-7867.

FEA ELECTIONS -- Ballots were mailed March 8 to all FEA Active Members to vote on five at-large offices on the FEA Board of Directors and to decide a proposed amendment to the FEA Constitution. If your ballot does not arrive in the mail by March 22, you may request one from your FRS, Local President or FEA Area Director. Please be sure to complete your ballot and mail it back to FEA (using the instructions provided with the ballot) promptly. FEA must receive your ballot by the close of business of April 22, 2013, for it to be counted. You can learn more about the election and the candidates running for office by reading the election information mailed to Active Members March 8 or reading the February FEA Journal available at http://www.feaonline.org/passport/communication/pub/journal.htm

PAY FREEZE EXTENSION -- Unfortunately, the bad news keeps coming from Congress. It appears increasingly likely the deal to fund the federal government's operations for the remainder of the current fiscal year will include a provision to extend the current pay freeze on federal workers through the end of the year. I don't need to tell all of you how this pay freeze unfairly burdens working men and women who happen to be federal employees. It seems there are those in Congress who would like nothing more than to make federal service as unattractive as possible. Despite this and all the other stresses we are currently facing, I know our members will continue to provide an outstanding education to military dependents. Your dedication cannot be praised highly enough and certainly deserves much more than the lip service we get from those who claim to support education while punishing educators.

Thank you for all the great work you continue to do in the face of great confusion and uncertainty!