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March 2014 FEA Stateside Update

Terry Arvidson, FEA Director for DDESS
Dorothy Lee, FEA UniServ Attorney

MARCH 2014

VSIP/VERA: The deadline for DDESS employees to apply for VERA or VSIP has once again been extended to Wednesday, March 12. The extension notice from DDESS, along with the application form that must be turned in to apply for VERA/VSIP. The form can be found on the FEA Web site.

It is our understanding that DDESS has been given the authority to offer approximately 150 offers. As we said before, this offer is for all permanent employees to include administrators, certified and classified personnel. The key understanding is that offers are only made to those who occupy positions that if vacated, would clearly result in the placement of a permanent employee facing the potential loss of a job. According the Human Resource Office at Peachtree City, they are hopeful to star making offers sometime in the mid-March time frame.

STAFFING: In speaking with Dr. Middlemiss, Interim Director for DDESS/DoDDS Cuba, superintendents have requested reclamas for staffing. Once Dr. Middlemiss reviews the requests, they are then forwarded to DODEA HQ for a final determination. Once we have received any updates, we will share those with members. There is no question at any level throughout DDESS that the proposed cuts to our staffing are not good for our students and our schools.

FORT KNOX RIF: We have received the unfortunate news that 4 schools at Ft. Knox will be closed for school year 2014 due to the deactivation of the 3rd Brigade. The schools facing closure are: Mudge ES, Pierce ES, Kingsolver ES and Walker IS. The schools remaining open are the high school, Scott MS, which will change from serving students in grades 7-8 to grades 6-8; Macdonald School, which will change from grades 4- 6 to encompassing students in grades 1-5; and Van Voorhis, which is currently PreK -- 3 will add grades 4 and 5 for school year 2014. This Reduction in Force only impacts the schools at Ft. Knox. Ft. Campbell is not impacted.

MOUs: The MOU has been signed for the STEM partnership program with USACE. AT this time the partnership will be offered to grade 7 Science teachers. At this time participating areas are Ft. Benning, Ft. Stewart, West Point, Ft. Knox and Ft. Campbell. Participation is entirely voluntary -- please review the MOU on the FEA website, or contact your local Association president.

CONTRACT NEGOTIATION/MEDIATION: Mediation for all unresolved Articles, Sections, Subsections and Appendices continues. The last session was the week of February 3 -- 7. The next session is scheduled for the week of March 31st.

RAND STUDY: A form letter has gone to most, if not all schools by now regarding the focus groups to be interviewed for the study. Selection of participants is random, and participation is voluntary. I have requested the team leaders to consider also including the support professionals in the focus groups. Please contact your local Association president for important information and ‘talking points' if you have been selected to participate in this study, or go to FEA's Web site. Do not access while using a government computer or while working on government property/time.

FEASR AREA Council: A successful council meeting was held at PTC the last weekend in February. Dr. Middelmiss and Dr. Austin were most gracious in blocking off the entire day Friday to meet and discuss our concerns and answer questions. Please check with your local president about specifics concerns and answers that were addressed in the meeting.

HCR ELECTIONS: The election for the FEASR HCR (Human and Civil Rights Coordinator) will be conducted this spring. This position is a two year commitment with the representative being an active member of the FEASR council. Information and nomination forms will be forwarded to your local district presidents this week. Please note the timeline for submitting nominations/self-nominations is 11 April 2014.

DDESS ADMINISTRATOR SURVEYS: The purpose of the surveys is to strengthen the principal-staff member relationship and provide feedback for the improvement of the school climate. Participation in the survey is voluntary and may be completed by any staff member in DDESS. The results of this survey will be shared with the administrators and the district superintendent. There will be a separate survey for the certified members and the classified members. Your local president will provide guidance for completion of the survey.

CONDOLENCES: Our sincere condolences go to Sandy Akin, the Association president for Maxwell, and to Dorothy Lee, our General Counsel, both of whom had their mothers pass away last week. Please keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

Terry