Hawaii representatives say no special session on furloughs

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii State Representatives have caucused, and say there will be no special session over furlough days at schools.

Some lawmakers started a petition last week, to gather support for one.

They needed two-thirds of the House, or 34 votes, as well as 17 in the Senate to call a special session.

Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona says there is no need for the reconvening. He is asking instead, for teachers to reopen contract talks to change the furlough days.

When Republican leaders suggested the same thing last week, the Hawaii State Teachers Association responded that even if furlough days were erased, the state would not have enough money to pay for transportation, utilities, cafeteria workers and other school services. If instead of furloughs, teachers were laid off, the HSTA says classroom sizes would increase, decreasing the amount of one-on-one attention.

HSTA members approved their new contract in October. It holds 17 unpaid furlough days this year and 21 next school year.