HONOLULU (Hawaii News Now) - The teacher's union and the state are talking again. Today's meeting was described as 'productive' by the union and the state said it was a 'solid discussion.' But they still don't have a deal that would end furlough Friday's at schools.
It's been exactly one month since Governor Lingle introduced her plan to restore teaching days and the state has criticized the teacher's union for not seizing the opportunity to get kids back in the classroom.
Parents are tired of waiting as well. Concerned parents picketed outside the Hawaii State Teachers Association headquarters with signs saying things like 'Don't come out until you have a solution' and 'My child left behind.'
They confronted the negotiating team as they arrived and urged them to do what's best for the student's because some parents already see the negative consequences of furlough days.
"These early years in school are really the time you want to foster that love for learning and if he's not there enough than I worry about what his attitude towards education will be in the older grades," said Ann Davis, parent of a first grade student at Kainalu Elementary in Kailua.
"Our children need to be in school. We need to educate these children. They are on permanent vacation mode. Some weeks this month children are in school two and a half to three days," said Jo Curran, member of a parent group called Hawaii Education Matters.
Lawmakers hoped a deal would have been worked out by now but it's not too late. The unofficial deadline to agree on a deal is December 31. That would still allow enough time to go into a special session and approve the money in a five day term. If not then it will be handled during the regular legislative session starting January 20. Then it will take longer to resolve because it will be mixed in with other issues. The longer it takes the more kids will be out of school.