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April 22, 2009 FEA Pacific Report

APRIL 22, 2009
Debra Degalis, FEA Pacific Area Director


Area Director- ‘Time flies' is one statement to which I can truly relate and I'm sure you can as well. Already, we are in the last quarter of the SY 08 - 09. The past six to seven weeks have been eventful for FEA, me and for DODDS educators. With the opening of the Transfer Program I have been inundated with a stream of email and phone communication. In March, I attended the FEA Board of Directors meeting in D.C., March 9-13th. Then began the actual transfer processing at DODEA Headquarters March 16-25. This was my first experience with the process. I was and continued to be amazed at how both the DoDEA and FEA representatives worked so well together for all the applicants in the Transfer Program. We are so fortunate to have Connie Shanaghan, FEA Director of Administration, on our side. Patti Ross, DoDEA Chief of Staffing, also worked diligently to insure the rules were followed and that all information was correct. I also want to thank my cohort, Chuck McCarter, Europe Area Director for assisting me and taking care of our members.

Immediately after returning to Japan on 26 March I flew to Misawa, Japan to attend the Pacific Area Advisory Council on 29 March. It was great to hear the positive reports from the Pacific Theater Education Council (PTEC). While in Misawa, I was able to visit to attend an Association meeting at Sollars ES, visit Edgren MS/HS, and spend a day at Cummings ES. I want to thank the FRSes, Deborah Markl, Randy Grant and John McNeal and the Misawa teachers for their warm reception. On my last day in Misawa the great news began to arrive -- transfer offers! If I thought the email traffic was intense before the offers came out, I was mistaken. After the offers arrived the email deluge surged on. Thank goodness Spring Break arrived for all of us. Last week was spent recovering, catching up with email, arranging logistics for our Spring FRS Training, and even meeting with teachers on Friday late afternoon.

Thank you for bearing with my delayed responses to your emails. I also want to thank Michael Bauernfeind, Uniserv, and the three District Presidents, Xavier Flores, Betty Gossett and Melanie Horton for taking such good care of our members during the last two months.

Upcoming AD Travel/Meetings:
· 2 May_ Japan HCRC Spring Training, Shirley Lanham ES, Atsugi. Come and join us.
· 5-6 May_ Yokosuka Complex Visit with Michael Priser, FEA President
· 8 May_ Korea - FRS Spring Training with Michael Priser, HT Nguyen, BettyLou Cummings, FEA Vice President, and Michael Bauernfeind
· 11 May_ Sasebo Complex Visit with Michael Priser
· 13 May_ Okinawa -- FRS Spring Training
· 15 May_ Tokyo, Japan- FRS Spring Training
· 16-18 May_ Tokyo, Japan -PAL Council Meeting

FEA President Editorial in Stars & Stripes- In case you haven't read, here is the article.

Never too late- It is never too late to reinforce and repeat good news, such as the salary increases for this school year. As expected, salary increases are less than in the past years due to economic hardships in the United States. By law, DoDDS salaries are base on compensation paid to employees in urban school districts (with populations of at least 100,000 people) throughout the United States.

Please remember, as a result of FEA legal victories, DoDDS educators will receive pay adjustments, retroactive to the start of the current school year. Changes in salary are gathered throughout the first half of the school year from around the United States by the DOD Wage Setting Division. When the numbers are crunched DODDS knows how much retroactive salary to pay educators. The salary adjustments will likely be paid in mid or late May.

Attached is an Excel Spreadsheet breakdown of teaching salaries and the increase for this year, created by FEA member Michel Schadt at Kinnick HS in Japan. For more information about the salary schedules, please go to www.feaonline.org

EXCENT and GRADESPEED- Continue to keep your FRS aware of EXCENT or Gradespeed issues.

Retiree ID Card- More good news worth repeating. Civilian employees who retire from any DoD agency including DoDEA, are eligible to receive an officially issued Civilian Retiree ID Card once they begin to receive their retirement pay. The base commander will determine access and use of MWR facilities. If the base near you does not allow you access, you should petition the base commander directly, asking him/her to consider allowing such access. See the HR Advisor attachment for details on how to obtain your card.

Yokota Housing MOU Rescinded- More good news! Educators with families currently residing or going to Yokota may choose to live on or off base. If you are currently living on base and want to move, you must pay for the move.

Teacher Appreciation Week- Mark your calendars. May 3-9 is National Teacher Appreciation Week and National School Nurse Day is May 6. It has been the past practice for the FEA Pacific to send each teacher a small gift of appreciation. The PAL Council decided to forgo a gift for this year in order to strengthen the PAL budget.

Pacific's Legal Eagle Corner

DUES DEDUCTION - The Federal Government offers to union members a convenient way to pay dues. By statute you are entitled to have your Association dues deducted over a set period of time and transferred to the FEA. In accordance with agreements between the FEA and DODDS, dues are deducted over ten pay periods. If you no longer wish to have your dues deducted in this manner, you are required to notify either DODDS or the FEA in writing before 1 September that you want to cancel dues deduction for the upcoming school year.

NASDTEC - DODEA is a member of the, the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification. This Association is a clearinghouse for certification and licensure in most school systems within the United States. Those states that have signed an agreement with NASDTEC accept some form of reciprocity between the members of the Association. For example, DODDS will accept a state teaching certification from any of the signatory states. These states will likewise accept a DODDS certification. It is not necessarily "full" reciprocity. The educator may have to complete additional requirements, such as coursework, assessments, or classroom experience, before receiving a full professional certificate in the new state. If a certification is revoked by one state it will not be issued to that educator applying in another state. There is a computer-based data program that identifies denials, revocations, and suspensions of certificates nationwide. Try direct access if you want further information: NASDTEC .

CERTIFICATION -- In May 2008 DODEA confirmed an appeal procedure regarding certification disputes. The SOP stated that it is the policy of the DoDEA to institute a certification appeals procedure to allow professional educators employed by DoDEA to appeal certification determinations made by the Licensure Unit. As part of this procedure, a Certification Review Board will be established to review and make recommendations to the final appeal authority for DoDEA regarding professional educator certification.

To initiate an appeal, the professional educator will submit the following information to the Board: (1) a memorandum requesting reevaluation, (2) official or certified copies of all transcripts, (3) course purpose of each course taken, and (4) valid "professional" teaching certificate(s) and/or endorsement(s). If copies of transcripts are submitted, each transcript must be "Certified to be a True Copy," and signed by the school administrator. Both front and back of all transcripts will be required.

AGING UP -- Remember that when your dependent child goes away to college your family size for LQA remains the same until your son or daughter turns age 21. Then you must notify DODDS and adjust your family size downward. For Post Allowance purposes, you must notify DODDS that your child has left the overseas area. After a 30 days absence from overseas you will have your Post Allowance adjusted downward. The Department of State Standardized Regulations in section 227.2 states that:

When a child on whose behalf an employee is currently receiving either an away from post education allowance or educational travel leaves the post for a period in excess of 30 days, the employee's post allowance shall be revised to the next lower family size rate. When the child returns to the post for a period in excess of 14 days, the allowance may again be revised to restore the reduced amount.

You son or daughter cannot use RAT after aging up. However, between the age of 21 and 23 your dependent child can still use Educational Travel Allowance benefits as long as there is still college attendance. At age 23 your dependent child will no longer be eligible for an ID card overseas.

Month of the Military Child- The month of April is coming to a close soon. Hopefully you were able to access the FEA website for the letter-sized poster recognizing our wonderful children. In case you did not receive the notice, the website address is: www.feaonline.org/militarychild.htm

Earth Day: Today is Earth Day. These two websites are late, but many educators still want to practice Earth Day Each Day. Thanks to Brian Chance, FEA Secretary/Treasurer and Trudy Pollard, NEA Director for FEA for the following websites.

NEA: Curriculum Resources for Earth Day http://www.nea.org/tools/13513.htm

http://www.seussville.com/lorax/classroom_plan.php http://www.theloraxproject.com

Read Across America Awards: Also, Trudy reminds us that the Read Across America Awards Competition deadline is April 27. We had a winner last year, Delores "DeDe" Brown-Johnson of Lakenheath ES. Her RAA project " The Reading Book Cruise with Dr. Seuss" was named "Most Unique" by the NEA! Don't be afraid to blow your own horn! Check out the website to see about entering your project or celebration. http://www.nea.org/grants/30857.htm

Summer Course Offering: The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the Federal Government. Each year the NEH's Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study humanities topics in a variety of Summer Seminars and Institutes. The dates and duration of each project are listed under each title. The application deadline is March 2, 2009 (postmark). Get more info here.

Yen and Won Rates: To check the rates go to this site. Thanks to Xavier Flores, NEATA President for this website.

Debra S. Degalis
FEA Pacific Area Director
DSN 315-267-6159