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December 2011 FEA Stateside Report

Debts - What To Do? We are still having problems with debts throughout DDESS. Under law, the Agency does not have to give notice if the debt is less than $200), or if the debt is incurred within 4 pay periods. If the debt is a larger amount, the law allows that you receive notification. Please read and follow the directions of this notice carefully! The notice has two very important sections. The first section discusses the repayment options you have for the debt. The second part of the letter suggests you discuss the reason for your debt with your local CSR. Most importantly, though, is your option to request a hearing or a waiver regarding the debt. The notice should state this:

"You may request a hearing concerning the amount or validity of the debt. A hearing only determines the amount and validity of the debt and is not an opportunity for you to discuss your ability or responsibility to repay the debt. Should you choose to exercise your right to a hearing, please submit your written request to your CSR within 45 days from the date of this letter. Please include a statement and any supporting documents contesting the amount or validity of the debt. Detailed guidance regarding hearings for erroneous payments under the authority of 5 USC 5514 is contained in the regulations of the employing agency. See http://www.dod.mil./comptroller/finr/08/index.html for a link to applicable regulations on hearings for your agency. A formal request for a hearing submitted within 45 days from the date of this letter shall stay the beginning of collection proceedings and interest and penalty charges shall not accrue during the period from the timely filing of the petition for a hearing until issuance of the hearing official's decision. Should you file a petition for a hearing, you will receive a written decision of the hearing official's determination. If you request a hearing, but are not available to participate in a hearing scheduled by the agency, or do not cooperate with the agency in its efforts to conduct the hearing, the stay of collection proceeding will be removed.

FEA and FEASR strongly suggest that you immediately request a hearing. Those incurring debts in moving from DoDDS to DDESS are the most severe as it is taking the Agency inordinate amounts of time to provide verification of the debt while they continue to take our members' hard-earned money.

ASPEN SPED: Phase II of the implementation of the ASPEN SPED module is underway in all schools in the Ft. Knox and the SC/Ft. Stewart districts, as well as the remaining schools at Quantico. Immediately let your local association leader in the school and your local president know if you have concerns or problems. We are in the process of developing the MOU for this next phase and it should be forthcoming within the next few days.

Creative Curriculum: We are also in the process of drafting an MOU for the pre-implementation of the use of the updated Creative Curriculum resources in the schools. Our intent is for teachers to be trained in the use of the materials and become familiar with them during the spring time frame. We can then determine the impact of their use prior to our agreement on full implementation. We will need your feedback!

I am not sure where the time went, but here we are at the holiday break. Most of our schools will start the holiday vacation at the end of this week. I want to wish you all a safe, restful and happy holiday season. You deserve it!

Terry