Hawaii lawmakers consider special session to end teacher furloughs - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii lawmakers consider special session to end teacher furloughs

Hawaii Senate President Colleen Hanabusa Hawaii Senate President Colleen Hanabusa

HONOLULU (HAWAIINEWSNOW) - Lawmakers are considering a special session to end furlough Fridays. Hawaii Senate president Colleen Hanabusa will convene a committee to explore options. She warns it won't be easy and she doesn't want to raise false hopes.

Students have already lost one day of learning. They'll lose another this Friday, the second of 17 furlough days scheduled this year. The senate president doesn't want the kids to have any more.

"They wanted to really do something but my concern is when you do something as complex as this, talk about special session, you talk about anytime you are going to interfere with collective bargaining, there are all these different steps that must be taken" said Hawaii senate president Colleen Hanabusa.

 Hanabusa has formed a special senate committee to get input from the Lingle administration, the Department of Education, the Hawaii State Teachers Association and parents. Some solutions might include raiding the rainy day fund, using special funds or maybe starting a new tax, earmarked solely for education. But finding the funds won't be the only problem.

"It's not simply one of the Senate and one of the House on board, you've got to have the governor on board. And you've also got to have the DOE and the BOE, plus HSTA and the other two unions that are also affected, HGEA and the UPW before anything can take place."

The Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) said in a statement Tuesday night: "We are encouraged that the senate is moving forward to address the furlough issue and is considering alternative funding sources to restore the education budget and instructional days."

The first special committee hearing is set for this Friday - a furlough day so parents are welcome to testify. If the committee recommends holding a special session, and Hanabusa suspects it will, two-thirds of the Hawaii senate and house will need to approve it before the session can be called.

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