Furlough reduction proposal revived, but still not approved - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Furlough reduction proposal revived, but still not approved

Linda Smith Linda Smith
Garrett Toguchi Garrett Toguchi
Pat Hamamoto Pat Hamamoto

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Despite an initial rejection by the governor ... a proposed agreement to reduce the number of teacher furlough days is still alive.

The Superintendent of Schools and the Chairman of the Board of Education met with members of the Lingle administration Wednesday to discuss the plan.

It was the first time the Lingle administration had heard details of the proposed agreement.

The plan would get teachers back into the classroom on seven of the remaining ten furlough days this school year. The state would pay for their return by taking $35-million from the state's rainy day fund.

Governor Lingle wants more furlough days eliminated, so when she first heard about the proposal she rejected it. But after Wednesday's talks it seems the proposal ... in some shape or form ... is still viable.

"This again was an informational meeting for us to understand and better the details of what the proposal was," said Linda Smith, Lingle's Senior Policy Advisor.

"We continue to be disappointed in terms of not having the furlough situations corrected at this time, but we very much appreciate the fact that the superintendent and the chair came and we spent a lot of time, as we said, over an hour and a half going through the particulars of what this plan looked like," Smith added.

"I think the good thing was that there was no outright rejection of the current proposal and so that is promising to us," B.O.E. Chairman Garrett Toguchi said.

"I thought the meeting was very productive and we look forward to hopefully a favorable response pretty soon," said Toguchi.

Lingle did not attend the meeting, but Marie Laderta, Director of Human Resource Development, and senior Lingle policy advisor Linda Smith were there. So was state Budget Director Georgina Kawamura. She is crunching numbers and will share financial details of the proposed agreement with the governor.

There is no timetable for the governor to respond to the proposal or issue a counter offer, but all involved say they are willing to talk again just as soon as the governor has reviewed all the details.

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