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April 17, 2013 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Michael Priser, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: April 17, 2013

FINALLY! SOME GOOD NEWS -- Late last week, we finally received confirmation that no school-level employees would be furloughed before the end of the current school year. FEA had reported in a previous update this would likely be the case because of the Pentagon's revised timeline for sending out furlough announcements, but it is certainly nice to know for certain. FEA has been railing against the harm furloughs would do since the Pentagon first announced the possibility. We will continue to do so. The fight continues as we now begin working to avoid the loss of classroom time during the 2013-2014 school year. Furloughs remain a very real threat for next school year, but we should all take a moment to breath a sigh of relief that the current school year will not fall victim to the furlough axe.

VSIP/VERA/EXCESS -- All EXCESSED educators who applied for VERA or VSIP should have received their offers when they arrived at school this past Monday. Reassignment letters for excessed educators who have been placed start going out April 17. Please note that not all excessed educators within a given school will receive their reassignment letters at the same time. FEA's Connie Shanaghan and the team from DoDEA Headquarters continue to go through all the applications for VSIP/VERA, looking for matches where an excessed educator can be placed. When a match is found, an offer of VSIP or VERA is sent to the applicant, who then has two days to accept or decline the offer. This is going to be a very long process and will certainly extend well into next week, possibly further. So, if you are an excessed educator awaiting reassignment: Hang in there! The process is far from over. If you are not excessed, but have applied for a VSIP/VERA, you will need to wait to see if your position can be used to place an excessed employee. While a few applicants have been notified, most of the matches will be occurring this week and next. FEA will notify members when Round 1 has been completed and all the offers have been sent.

MONTH OF THE MILITARY CHILD -- April is the Month of the Military Child. FEA members certainly don't need anyone to remind them how incredible military children are, but we are glad to have the rest of the world stop and give them some much-deserved praise and attention. Learn more about this month-long observance by going to this site.

SUMMER SCHOOL PROGRAM -- Every summer, DoDEA offers a 4-week enrichment program for K-8 students in our schools. Historically, these programs have been staffed at 18:1. This year, Headquarters had decided to increase the class size by 33% (to 24 students). Headquarters stated that the large increase in class size is needed in case students drop out or do not show up. FEA offered a number of alternative proposals that would address these concerns, but keep the ideal class size constant. Headquarters asserted that this is not an academic remediation program but one that provides "enrichment" and therefore increasing the class size to 24 should not be a problem. Headquarters even suggested that having a summer class size of up to 30 students was acceptable. FEA has asked for mediation to assist in resolving this issue. FEA believes it is important for Headquarters to hear from those in the classroom.

1:1 LAPTOP SURVEY -- FEA is gathering member input to help us inform DoDEA headquarters about issues and concerns with the 1:1 Laptop Program implemented in the following schools:
Alconbury MHS
Bamberg MHS
Faith MS
Guam HS
Hohenfels HS
Kaiserslautern HS
Kinnick HS
Knox HS
Lester MS
Patch HS
Schweinfurt HS
Seoul AHS
Wiesbaden HS

If you are at any of those schools, please follow the link below to complete the survey by this Monday, April 22. Your input is greatly appreciated! You can access the 1:1 Laptop Program survey by going to this link.

TRAVELS -- Over the next few weeks, I will be on the road again meeting with Association leaders and members. I will be attending the Stateside Area Council meeting with our FEA local presidents in DDESS in Peachtree City this week. Next week I will be in Europe visiting members in Wiesbaden, Kaiserslautern, Boeblingen, Stuttgart and Hohenfels. I always look forward to meeting with members and seeing firsthand the great work you do for students.