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June 16 2010 FEA Pacific Update

JUNE 16, 2010
Debra Degalis, FEA Pacific Area Director

Area Director Update
Thanks
Congratulations
Mailing Address
Check the FEA Website
Did you submit your encroachment worksheet?
FEA Annual Meeting NEA RA
Pay Issues
Separating or Retiring
Legal Eagle Corner -- RAT 175 Day Rule
Mark Your Calendars
Other Tidbits


Area Director Update: Where did the school year go? As I reflect upon the year, and the many challenges we all faced, I have many mixed emotions. Honestly, I believe most of them could have been avoided and were not necessary, but that is another story. The one bright spot for me is that once again, you, the teachers, were there for your students and insured that they received the best education possible. I salute you and thank you for your dedication to our students.

Since the last update at the end of April, I have been on a bus that refuses to stop or even slow down. Our FRS training took place this spring in all three districts. Immediately thereafter the Pacific Area Leadership Council met for three days at Hardy Barracks in Tokyo. This meant continual travel for two weeks. I want to extend my thanks to Michael Priser, FEA President; HT Nguyen, FEA Executive Director/General Counsel; Bill Thompson, NEA Director, Finance and Membership Services and last FEA Pacific General Counsel/UniServ, Michael Bauernfeind for their top-notch assistance with the trainings. I also want to thank our current local leadership. You were a talented group who will serve the Association very well in the upcoming school year.

Since returning from spring training and the PAL Council meeting school and employment issues have forced me back on the speeding bus. Michael Bauernfeind and I have the satisfaction that comes from being able to help members. That said, we are both exhausted and are ready for summer recess.

Good luck and many happy adventures to the teachers that are transferring to the other side of the world or within the Pacific.

I sincerely want to wish the best to our colleagues who are retiring. You will be changing buses with the expectation that your next ride will be as exciting as the one you are leaving.

For those returning, recharge those batteries, and take time for yourself. You deserve it!

Upcoming AD Activities:
30 June-6 July FEA Annual Membership Meeting and NEA RA, New Orleans

Thanks: I want to offer a special thanks to Betty Gossett for her service on behalf of her members in Korea. She was FRS at Seoul American Elementary School, one of our largest elementary schools in DoDDS. She then took on the obligations of the TEAK President. After eight years of strong advocacy, Betty decided to return to the classroom. Thanks Betty so much.

Congratulations: The Teachers of the Year have been selected for our three districts, and they are all members! Korea TOY is Lori Lundy, Second Grade, Seoul American ES. Japan TOY is Michelle Foust, Math Support, Sullivans ES and the Okinawa TOY is Ron Geist, Music, Kubasaki HS. A hearty congratulations to all three and good luck in the round for DoDEA TOY.

Mailing Address: If you are an FRS or membership chairperson, please be sure that FEA DC has correct mailing address for membership materials that will arrive in the mail.

Check the FEA Website: Keep informed throughout the summer by checking the FEA website www.feaonline.org. Remember you will need your membership ID number.

Encroachment Worksheet: Be sure to submit your prep time encroachment worksheet to your FRS. You can find the worksheet that will help the FEA legal team enforce our contractual preparation time. http://www.feaonline.org/passport/legal/updates/encroachment.htm

FEA Annual Meeting and NEA RA: If you are anywhere near New Orleans this summer at the end of June, please come to the FEA Annual Meeting, June 30 -- July 1, at the Chateau Bourbon Hotel. The NEA Representative Assembly will also take place July 2-6. For more details, check out www.feaonline/ra. Hope to see you there!

PAY ISSUES?: If you have pay issues and been unable to get them resolved through your school personnelist, please contact our FEA Pacific Counsel/UNISERV, Michael Bauernfeind, feapac@comcast.net.

Separating or Retiring: If you are retiring or separating from DoDDS, please make sure that DoDDS Pacific Area Office has your contact information. Also provide this contact information to Michael Bauernfeind in you have an outstanding grievance or Goodbye Grievance.

Pacific's Legal Eagle Corner

RENEWAL AGREEMENT TRAVEL 175 DAY RULE

There is much confusion about the requirement to work a minimum of 175 days in a school year to qualify for Renewal Agreement Travel. Here is a summary with law that is current, but always subject to changes in the future.

1. Educators sign a service agreement in order to receive Renewal Agreement Travel. In essence the carrot for continuing to teach for another school year is the receipt of RAT back to home of record.

2. The tour of duty for teachers is one school year, not a calendar year like General Schedule employees. A school year consists of 190 days of duty of which 183 are days of instruction.

3. In order to complete a tour of duty teachers must complete a minimum of 175 days of instruction. This really means 175 days in a pay status.

4. The tour of duty for a particular educator begins when the educator reports for duty after performing Renewal Agreement Travel.

If you are not able to report for duty for an entire month after school starts, then you begin your tour of duty 20 duty days into the school year. The school year again is 190 days long. Even if you are on paid educator leave for these 20 days you only begin your tour of duty when you actually report for work at the school. This presents some problems for RAT. The countdown for your 175 day minimum tour of duty would begin on the 20th duty day of the school year. By the end of school that year you will have only worked 170 days. You have not earned RAT for the next school year.

Here's another example. You report for duty and ten school days have already gone by. Later on in January you get sick and take ten days of educator leave. In this scenario you have missed 20 duty days, but ten of them were in a pay status. For RAT eligibility purposes you were in a qualified pay status for 180 days that year. You have earned RAT for the period of the summer recess. As long as you are in a pay status after reporting at the beginning of the school year you get credit towards the 175 day minimum.

5. Pay status means earned educator leave, borrowed educator leave from the future, donated leave from the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program and excused absence.

6. Arbitrator Winkler issued a decision in 1997, which clarified the law regarding the 175 day requirement for RAT.

The term "classroom instruction" could be confusing because some unit employees are not regularly engaged in classroom instruction and only 183 days of classroom instruction are normally scheduled each school year. The term "pay status" was used because unit employees are normally scheduled to be in a pay status 190 days each school year and time in a paid leave status would be included, but scheduled duty days when employees are in a non-pay status, such as leave without pay or absence without leave, would be excluded.

As also mentioned above, 5 U.S.C. Section 5728(a) prescribes that payment of round-trip travel expenses is conditioned upon the employee having "satisfactorily completed an agreed period of service outside the continental United States." It is accordingly concluded as DoDDS contends, that Article 48 "did not change the regulatory requirement to complete 175 days after arrival at the overseas post."

7. There is no provision under the law to waive the 175 day requirement because of circumstances beyond the control of the educator. Arbitrator Winkler quoted from a DODEA memo from the Personnel Director.

SUBJECT: Renewal Agreement Travel Eligibility. Under the provisions of the JTR, Volume II, C4009, an employee may be released from the period of service requirement specified in the transportation agreement for reasons beyond his control which are acceptable to DoD. However, a waiver of the period of service requirement can be granted only for the purposes of separation travel. There is no authority to reduce the tour of 175 days further to grant renewal agreement travel. This has been confirmed with the Per Diem, Transportation and Travel Allowance Committee.

8. The position of DODDS was affirmed by a DODEA official this week.

In accordance with paragraph C5572.C.2 of the Joint Travel Regulations, Vol. 2, a tour of duty under a renewal agreement begins on the date the employee reports for duty at the OCONUS permanent duty station following completion of RAT. A school year for teachers must consist of 175 days of classroom instruction. Therefore, if the delayed return from RAT does not allow the teacher to complete 175 days of classroom instruction after reporting back to duty, the teacher will need to serve an additional school year on the renewal tour of duty before being eligible for RAT.

Mark Your Calendars

DoDDS Annual Reunion: In case you are interested: REUNION WEEKEND XXII Indianapolis, Indiana in 2010! July 31-August 3, 2010. E-mail: doddsreunion@suddenlink.net. Phone: (Bill Hobbs) 903 535-913. Website: www.doddsworldreunion.com

Fall FRS and Joint Labor Management Training Dates:
Japan: 1-2 October
Okinawa: 4-5 October
Korea: 7-8 October

Yen and Won Rates:To check the rates go to this page.

Hoping you are ready for a great summer!

Debra
Debra S. Degalis
FEA Pacific Area Director
DSN 267-6159 Off Base 042-869-6159
81-42-869-6159