Tentative agreement would reduce teacher furloughs - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Tentative agreement would reduce teacher furloughs

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii State Teachers Association, the Department of Education, and the Board of Education, reached a tentative agreement Wednesday to reduce the number of days public school teacher are furloughed.

Details of the agreement are being withheld until leadership of all involved parties approve the deal.

Governor Linda Lingle had proposed using $50 million from the rainy day fund to pay teachers to return. But that money would only be enough to pay for ten to twelve days of instruction. There are 27 furlough days left this school year and next.

While people familiar with the tentative agreement will not yet say how many of those 27 furlough days will be eliminated, HSTA president Wil Okabe issued a written statement saying "We believe this is a reasonable solution that returns children to the classroom in a safe environment."

BOE Chairman Garrett Toguchi said, "Hopefully we will be able to make a formal announcement by next week."

Late Wednesday afternoon the Governor Lingle's spokesperson said she cannot comment because she has not seen details of the tentative agreement.

If Lingle endorses the deal, she may call legislators back for a special session.

Lawmakers would need at least five (special session) days to approve legislation needed to access money in the rainy day fund.

It is possible the money could be appropriated before the next school furlough scheduled for January 15.

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