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May 13 2013 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Michael Priser, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: May 13, 2013

EXCESS PLACEMENTS. The seemingly never-ending DoDDS Excess Placement Program is finally winding down. As of Friday afternoon, only one excessed educator was still without a placement and will hopefully be placed very soon. Six others had been matched to positions currently held by a VSIP or VERA applicant and we are awaiting word from those applicants on whether they will accept their VSIP or VERA offer so that those matches can be finalized. Approximately 60 non-excessed educators thus far have declined their offers of VSIP or VERA.

This placement program has been unnecessarily long and frustrating for educators and the responsibility for that lies squarely on DoDEA's shoulders. Had management adopted more of FEA's ideas for running this program, it would have been concluded long ago and with much less confusion. It would be a gross understatement to say DoDEA's often illogical attempts to save money have negatively impacted what was already bound to be a difficult and stressful situation for the many excessed educators this year, as well as the many VERA/VSIP applicants who've been awaiting word on their requests and some great NTE educators who had to be displaced. The affected employees deserved much better treatment.

BAS SPRING TESTING. FEA met last week with DoDEA Headquarters on the spring BAS assessments. While teachers submitted a number of good ideas for the end of the year, Headquarters rejected every single one of them, and decided to unilaterally implement their program, unchanged. Headquarters will require that the testing be done during the LAST FIVE WEEKS OF SCHOOL. Headquarters also said, emphatically, that "any teacher who requests a substitute teacher to do the BAS testing will be provided with a substitute teacher." This, of course, is in accordance with their previous agreement. If you are denied a substitute teacher, contact FEA-Washington immediately.

SURE START AGREEMENT. Last fall, DoDEA purchased handheld I-Touch equipment for teachers to use with the creative curricula program. Although an agreement was worked out in November, Headquarters was unable to sign off on the program until May 7. Sure Start teachers may receive up to 2 hours of online training on the devices and may request additional help if needed. The MOU can be found here.

TRAVELS. I was able to attend the FRS training and meetings in Seoul, Korea last week. It is always good to gain firsthand knowledge directly from educators in the schools. This week I will be in Guam, Okinawa and Tokyo, meeting with Association leaders. Thanks again for all you do for students.

REIMBURSEMENT FOR POSTAGE IN CONJUNCTION WITH RAT TRAVEL. As you may recall, the issue of reimbursement for DoDDS educators in the FEA bargaining unit who elected to mail up to 100 pounds of household goods (HHG) each way in conjunction with their RAT travel was the subject of several FEA Legal Updates earlier this school year. As background, under the Negotiated Agreement, DoDDS educators in the FEA bargaining unit are to be reimbursed for the full cost of such shipments of HHG with their RAT travel. However, DFAS began rejecting these reimbursement claims in recent years. FEA then filed an Association Grievance and spent a significant amount of time working with DoDEA headquarters to resolve this issue.

In the November 2, 2012 Legal Update by FEA General Counsel H.T. Nguyen, we noted that DoDEA had contacted DFAS to inform DFAS that they had to pay the full cost for these HHG shipments. FEA has recently learned that a number of DoDDS educators in the FEA bargaining unit who took RAT have been paid the costs for these HHG shipments by DFAS.

If you are a DoDDS educator in the FEA bargaining unit who took RAT and shipped up to 100 pounds of HHG each way in conjunction with your RAT travel, requested reimbursement, but do not receive reimbursement from DFAS by the last week of this present school year, please be sure to request reimbursement for these costs again before summer vacation.

FEA JOURNAL.

The May FEA Journal, including detailed results of the FEA At-Large officer election and vote on the amendment to the FEA Constitution, was mailed to all FEA members last week. If you can't wait to receive your copy, you can view it online at www.feaonline.org

Happy Mothers Day!