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FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: February 20, 2015

VERA/VSIP

VERA/VSIP offers have been made to excessed educators and to create vacancies for the Excessed District Placement programs. Unlike past years, in which VERA/VSIP offers to applicants who were not excessed were based upon teaching categories, this year's offers were based on Service Computation Dates (SCD) worldwide. DODDS is expected to offer another batch of VERA/VSIP in the near future to create vacancies for use in this spring's transfer placement round.


TRANSFER APPLICANTS

Here are the current numbers for applications to this year's transfer program, listed by transfer group:
Group A+ - 292
Group A -- 127
Group B -- 144
Group C -- 90*
Group D -- 195
Group F -- 369
Total: 1,217
* - There are a total of 119 excessed educators. Of those, 29 qualified for a higher transfer group and are included in the A+, A, and B totals. Also, excessed educators who are placed through the District Placement Programs will be withdrawn from the transfer program. Therefore, the number of excessed educators may decrease.

As we have reported previously, DoDEA Headquarters has set a budget limit for the transfer program which, we believe, will provide funding for approximately 150 transfer placements (placements of excessed educators are not counted towards the budget limit). While FEA is glad to see the return of transfer program this year, we are greatly disappointed that more placements are not being funded.


TIMELINE CHANGES

The transfer round had been scheduled to begin March 11 but that date will have to be moved back due to the delays in getting VERA/VSIP offers out and starting the District Placement Programs. Presumably, this would also push back the deadline for making amendments to transfer applications that have been filed. We are working with DoDEA Headquarters to iron out these changes and will let our members know as soon as the revised timeline is set.


BACKGROUND CHECKS

Currently, we are still in the process of working with DoDEA Headquarters on guidance and directions for the mandated background checks. Except for new employees, no member in the FEA Bargaining Unit should be asked to complete these forms until guidance and directions have been sent out by DoDEA Headquarters. We will keep you posted.


HR STUDY

Recently a number of our members have been involved in focus groups to discuss issues surrounding DoDEA's Human Resources services. FEA applauds this effort to improve HR service to DoDEA employees. We have been very vocal in expressing the need for more responsive system with access to timely and correct information for current employees about entitlements and benefits. We have also stressed the need for more available information and support for those considering retirement. And of course we continue to advocate for a system that pays employees and corrects mistakes in an accurate and timely manner.


VOLUNTARY LEAVE TRANSFER PROGRAM

FEA UniServ Attorney Bill Freeman has provided us with the following information affecting overseas members:

The Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP) is designed to provide donated leave to those in dire need, so they can avoid LWOP and associated pay problems when they can least afford or address them. Three years ago, I (Bill) won an Association Grievance involving systemic problems. We discovered and addressed egregious problems in that case. Teachers were donating leave that never made its way to the beneficiaries. The unused donated leave was never returned to the donors because DoDDS lost track of who had donated what leave. Beneficiaries who did not receive the leave were underpaid. DoDDS even collected bogus debts from some of them.

In accordance with the Award, DoDDS was ordered to fix the system and provide copies of all documentation concerning the Program to FEA on a continuing basis. They have not complied. I am having a Hearing soon with the arbitrator to address everyone's problems occurring since March, 2012.

If you have had problems with this Program as either a donor or beneficiary since March, 2012, this is your chance to get them corrected. It is also your chance to help fix a critical humanitarian program that has been broken for years. DoDDS has been hiding behind "privacy" issues all this time. With this Award, they will no longer get away with it.

If you have been affected, I need the following as soon as possible:
(1) Copies of forms you filled out either to apply for the program or donate leave.
(2) String of LES's showing the deductions and/or the associated problems.
(3) Any emails or correspondence to help explain the problem.
(4) Anything else that would help explain.

Please note, this applies to FEA-Europe and FEA-Pacific. It does not apply to the Med or DDESS. It applies to only problems occurring since March, 2012.

Contact Bill Freeman to submit information or with any follow up questions.


NEA GALA

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend the NEA Foundation's Salute to Excellence in Education Gala. Known as the Academy Awards of public education, this is an annual celebration of the men and women who work in America's public schools. This year, our own Alina Rozanski, Netzaberg MS, was honored along with the other state nominees. Joining us to celebrate FEA's nominee for this honor was DoDEA Director, Mr. Thomas Brady. We are currently accepting applications for next year's nominee. Contact your Area Director for more information immediately if you want to make a nomination.


HUMAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS INFORMATION

Thanks to Mimi Cuadrado, our HCR Coordinator, for the following information:

For NEA HCR Updates go to this link

The NEA Joint Conference on Concerns of Minorities and Women will be held June 29-30, 2015, at the Hilton Orlando, at 6001 Destination Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32819. Please check the website: available here, on April 1, 2015, for updates and registration information.

For possible NEA HCR Training opportunities or other training's, please contact your FEA HCR Coordinator for your area.


MORE USEFUL INFORMATION

Be sure to visit the FEA Website at feaonline.org regularly for important information on the transfer program and other time-sensitive topics.


NEA's READ ACROSS AMERICA

Finally, I want to give everyone one last reminder about NEA's Read Across America, coming up on March 2. This event has taken on a life of its own over the years and is always a highlight of the school year for staff, parents and especially students. I think our military personnel, especially those in command, particularly enjoy this day because it gives them a chance to relax and be a bit silly with the students -- a very rare opportunity for those doing such dangerous and important jobs. If you're still looking for ideas for your reading events, visit NEA's Read Across America site, and please send a few pictures of your events to us at fea@feaonline.org. Most importantly, have a wonderful day celebrating the joys of reading!