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March 28, 2009 FEA President's Report

To: FEA Members and Local Leaders Worldwide
From: Michael Priser, FEA President
Re: FEA President's Report
Date: March 28, 2009


TRANSFER PROGRAM -- The transfer round ended at 7:00 p.m., Friday, March 27. Per an agreement with DoDDS, FEA cannot release the number of transfers until all information has been verified and the teaching certifications checked.

Reassignment letters will begin to go out by email mid-week and continue into the following week (week of April 6th). DoDDS is aware that many teachers have spring break this week and may need an extra day or two to respond to their notifications.

Reassignment letters will be sent out by gaining district. Therefore, it is possible for a principal to receive the name of a teacher coming to his/her school prior to a teacher currently at the school receiving his/her transfer reassignment. Only those teachers who received a transfer are notified by DoDDS HQ.

Excess teachers may request reconsideration for the following reasons:
  • 1. To remain in your current district or commuting area.
  • 2. If you were placed in a teaching category you have not taught nor received training in during the past six years.
  • 3. Due to medical needs (requires medical documentation).
Excess teachers who wish to request reconsideration must do so within 2 weeks of receiving their transfer reassignment letter.

If you are an FEA member and have a question about your transfer you can contact Connie Shanaghan at the FEA Admin Outlook address. Be sure to include your transfer group and SCD. Please note that FEA cannot release any specific information on transfers until DoDDS HQ has sent out all the transfer reassignment letters.

FEA wishes to thank Patti Ross, Nita Coats-Jones and Jesse Jones for all their work during the transfer round.

DoDDS SALARY MEETING -- FEA will be meeting April 2 with staff from DoDEA and the DoD Wage Setting Authority to review the data that will be used to determine the 2008-2009 DoDDS salary schedules.

For those not familiar with the process: Congressional law mandates that DoDDS salaries be based on the basic rate of compensation paid to public school employees in urban school districts throughout the U.S. having a minimum population of 100,000. As of the 2000 Census, there were slightly over 230 such urban school districts. Salary schedules from all of those districts are gathered by the Wage Setting Authority and the average rates of pay across all districts are computed and used to set DoDDS salaries. Because it takes quite a lot of time to collect and analyze all of those schedules, the current year's salary schedule is typically not finalized until the school year is nearly over.

We don't know yet what sort of salary increases we are looking at in DoDDS this year, but based on the economic hardships being faced by so many of the urban areas used to compute our pay schedules, it is safe to assume the increase in our salaries will be smaller than it has been in recent years. We do not, however, expect a salary freeze, as many of our public school counterparts in the U.S. are currently facing.

FEA will send out information on the new salary figures as soon as they are finalized. We will also post the schedules at www.feaonline.org/passport/salary/.
And, thanks to a legal victory by FEA, DoDDS educators will receive retroactive pay adjustments later this spring to compensate them for the difference between the new 2008-2009 salary schedule and the 2007-2008 schedules they have been paid on since the start of the current school year.

CHANGES TO SURE START, PSCD DATES -- DoDEA has unilaterally issued a memo announcing that educators will not receive the customary two days (allotted for online training) prior to the beginning of Sure Start classes or one week prior to the beginning of Preschool Services for Children with Disabilities (PSCD) to do prep work and conduct home visits. These are major changes from past practice and, despite claims in the DoDEA memo, FEA did not agree to them. FEA has been bargaining these issues with officials at DoDEA Headquarters. We will now take the issue directly to Dr. Shirley Miles, DoDEA Director. It is unfortunate that, despite DoDEA officials acknowledging the particularly heavy work load for Sure Start teachers at the beginning of the year, and the value of home visits prior to beginning PSCD services, Headquarters so far is adamant about taking these days away from teachers.

EXCENT ONLINE -- An updated version of Excent Online, purported to correct major problems experienced with the system, is to be installed by March 30. DoDEA also sent out a newsletter, detailing the fixes contained in the new version, and a troubleshooting guide. If you do continue to have problems with Excent, please let FEA know by reporting those problems to your association building representative, who will pass them along to us.

NSPS -- Congress will hold a hearing on the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) April 1. FEA staff will be in attendance. Also, FEA and its partners in the United DoD Workers Coalition will be meeting with the new Deputy Secretary of Defense on April 9 to discuss the future of NSPS.

MILITARY CHILD MONTH -- April is the Month of the Military Child. FEA is encouraging all members to visit www.feaonline.org/militarychild.htm to print out a letter-sized poster you can hang in your classroom, celebrating this month and honoring the military children it recognizes. As faculty and staff in DoDEA schools, we know military children as well as anyone and it's hard to think of anyone more deserving of recognition for their strength of character, resiliency and hard work. I know I speak for all FEA members when I say how much we care about these kids and how honored we are to be entrusted with their education. Please go to www.feaonline.org/militarychild.htm today to print out posters for yourself and your co-workers. You can print it out in color or black-and-white on any desktop printer. Let's make sure these great kids know how much they are appreciated!

SUMMER ENRICHMENT -- The MOU on Summer Enrichment offerings has been signed and is posted at www.feaonline.org/passport/legal/mous.htm (login required). Anyone interested in applying for one of the Summer Enrichment positions should contact their local administrator for more information.

VISITS -- I had a great visit recently to Fort Jackson, SC, where I presented a workshop on Special Education issues. I would be happy to do this workshop for any our local associations. Please contact me if you are interested. I can be reached via the FEA Legal/Pres address on Outlook mail.
I will also be traveling to West Point, NY, this week to visit our members there. I encourage all our members at West Point to stop by and let me know what's on their minds and how FEA can best serve them.

SURVEY -- FEA is continuing with our plans for a general membership survey later this spring, to most likely be conducted online via our Web site. If there are issues related to working conditions or association services you would like to have addressed in the survey, please let us know by emailing fea@feaonline.org.

LEGAL UPDATES -- FEA General Counsel H.T. Nguyen has prepared a pair of legal updates for our DoDDS members, covering the issues of making your own travel plans without using the CTOs and coaches not being reimbursed for hotel and other expenses when traveling to DoDDS events. Those updates can be read at www.feaonline.org/passport/communication/updates/general.htm.

Note: coaches seeking reimbursement for travel expenses through Association Grievance 08-08 should read this update and respond with their information by April 30, 2009.

PLAN AHEAD -- Lastly, I want to remind our overseas members that many states have made the process for renewing a driver's license or other ID much more stringent in the aftermath of September 11. This means it is not always possible to renew such items online. I urge you to plan ahead. If you are going home on RAT travel this year, check to see if your ID will expire before you would be likely to return home again. If so, get it renewed this summer. Doing so will save you much frustration. Be sure to do the same with any other registrations that may expire while you are overseas.

Have a great week!