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December 2008 Newsletter

In this issue:

1. 2008 Florida Migrant & Homeless Conference

2. Guidance on "Transporting a Product"

3. Florida's Recruitment Website

4. Reminder - Qualifying Activities Chart

5. ID&R Events


 

1. 2008 Florida Migrant & Homeless Conference

The 2008 Florida Migrant & Homeless Conference: Serving Highly Mobile Children and Youth was held on October 21-23, 2008 in Naples, Florida. Over 280 instructional staff from across the state participated in the 3-day joint conference for migrant and homeless educators. There were 52 sessions provided during the conference. In addition to programmatic issues related to the Migrant and Homeless Education Programs, sessions also addressed topics affecting highly mobile children, such as health, social services, immigration, and parent involvement. The opening keynote speaker, Dr. Pat Cooper, from the Early Childhood and Family Learning Foundation in Louisiana, shared with the audience the key components that are needed to implement effective models for children at risk. Judge Rodolfo "Rudy" Gonzalez, a former migrant, served as the closing keynote speaker. Judge Rudy related his experiences growing up in a highly mobile family, and the strategies he and his family used to cope with the constant change and mobility. Based on evaluation comments, participants were satisfied with the conference, its sessions and its format. The overwhelming majority of respondents indicated that the conference was a success, and is looking forward to next year's joint conference.


 

2. Guidance on “Transporting a Product”

As part of their Non-Regulatory Guidance of 2003, the Office of Migrant Education indicated that "transporting a product" was not considered a qualifying activity for the migrant program. Upon further discussion, there have been some changes to the stance taken by OME regarding this issue. Below find recent correspondence from OME regarding transporting a product. (OME statements are in quotes.)

Q1. Is transporting a raw product (e.g., tomatoes) from the field to a vegetable warehouse considered to be a qualifying activity? Does it matter if the worker never actually handles the raw product (tomatoes)?

A1.OME states, "The answer to both questions depends on whether the vegetable warehouse is located on the farm and transporting the tomatoes there is part of the harvesting process or whether the vegetable warehouse is located off site and the warehouse is a wholesaler separate from the farm. According to the MEP Draft Non-Regulatory Guidance, transporting a product is not directly related to agricultural production or processing and, therefore, is not a qualifying activity (see Question and Answer (Q & A) I9 in Chapter II, page 21). The Department's intent with this guidance was to exclude transporting activities such as "trucking" whereby a crop is shipped from the farm to a processing plant or other wholesaler, because it is not clear that this type of transporting (i.e., shipping) is directly related to agricultural production or processing. If the scenario you describe is similar to this, OME would not consider this type of "transporting" to constitute qualifying work. However, if transporting the tomatoes takes place on the farm and is part of the harvesting process (such as transporting the crop to a packing shed), then OME would consider this to be qualifying work."

Q2. Is transporting grain from a combine in the field to the grainer considered to be a qualifying activity?

A2. OME states, "OME would not consider this activity to constitute qualifying work because the product is being transported outside the farm to another third party (i.e., the grainer)." (See the response to question 1 above).

Q3. In the guidance it states that some activities that are not directly related to production or processing include: transporting a product. Does this include transporting raw product (e.g., tomatoes, wheat, and milk) that has not been processed?

A3. See response to first bullet under item # 1 above. OME states, "The guidance on transporting a product applies to raw and processed products alike. The difference between these types of products is not relevant to the question of whether transporting them constitutes qualifying work." END OF OME QUOTE

There appears to be two extremes regarding the issue of "transporting" - when the product is transported within the field as an integral part of the harvesting vs. "trucking" or "shipping" the product. From the point of view of the ID&R office, transporting the product within the field as an integral part of the harvesting is qualifying work and "shipping" or "trucking" is not qualifying work.

An example of a qualifying work for this issue is the individual who is standing on the back of a truck, gets the bucket with all the tomatoes and dumps them into the truck (that's why they are referred to as "dumpers").

On the other hand, it is difficult to consider an individual who drives a truck from one end of the state to another to a processing facility, drops the product and returns home without ever handling the product as having an essential part of the harvesting; therefore, this is not a qualifying activity.

While the two extremes appear to be clear, things get a little more confusing when looking at scenarios that will fall somewhere in the middle. The ID&R office strongly encourages districts to review each situation on a case-by-case basis. Districts should also document why they believe that specific cases are, in fact, "essential" to the harvesting of the product and, therefore, qualifying work. This documentation should be included in Item #15 of the COE. In addition, recruiters must make sure that all the eligibility factors in STAMP have been met before any eligibility determination.

Please contact the ID&R office with any case that warrants further clarification. As with any situation, if a recruiter or coordinator is uncertain about an eligibility determination, the district should contact the ID&R office for further review.


 

3. Florida's Recruitment Website

We are proud to introduce the FL Recruiter Website. This first version includes most of the training materials we have used in the past, as well as links that are useful to recruiters. The purpose is to include all the information regarding child eligibility, including policy and guidance issues, in one readily available location for recruiters. In addition, staff will be able to submit their questions or suggestions to the site. There is no need to log in to access the materials on the site. Please send us your comments and suggestions to fl-idr-office@escmail.org or use the “feedback” feature available on the site. To view the website, please use the following link: http://flrecruiter.org/


 

4. Reminder - Qualifying Activities Chart

Approximately half of the districts in the state have submitted a completed qualifying activity chart. The ID&R office is in the process of reviewing and compiling this information, and would like to present a state-wide chart that will be useful to all migrant educators in Florida. Please use the attached file to submit this information. If you have already done so, we want to thank you for your cooperation.


 

5. ID&R Events

As has been our policy for the last few years, staff from the ID&R office is always available to attend ID&R related events, such as recruitment efforts at camps or farms or similar events. Please contact the office to schedule a visit to your district to coincide with ID&R-related activities.


 

Finally, the ID&R Office wishes all the listserv recipients and migrant staff in Florida a Happy Holiday Season, and we'll see you in 2009.

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