Governor pitches new plan to stop Furlough Fridays - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

HSTA, BOE and Governor pitch separate plans on Furlough Fridays

Garrett Toguchi Garrett Toguchi
Wil Okabe Wil Okabe

By Holly Juscen – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two competing plans have been released, to end Furlough Fridays in Hawaii schools.

The Board of Education and the Hawaii State Teachers Association announced they had reached an agreement, just minutes apart from the Governor releasing her own proposal.

Here is how they match up.

The governor's proposal:

  • Eliminates 21 furlough days. That is the remaining four this year, and 17 next year.
  • Uses $62 million from the Rainy Day or Hurricane Relief funds to pay for 12 of those days.
  • Teachers would give up nine non-instructional days.
  • Only school-level personnel would be paid to open classrooms and teach. Other non-essential DOE workers would remain on furlough
  • Funding for the salaries and benefits of teachers will be released if lawmakers pass a constitutional amendment, allowing voters to decide if the governor should select the school superintendent. Currently, that responsibility belongs to the Board of Education.

The BOE, HSTA's proposal:

  • Eliminates 21 furlough days.  That is the remaining four this year, and 17 next year.
  • Uses $92 million in funding to pay for 15 of those days.
  • Teachers would give up seven non-instructional days.
  • All DOE employees for schools would be paid to return to work.
  • Teachers will vote on the tentative agreement March 31

"This plan recognizes it is important to restore both the quantity and quality of instructional time our children receive in public school," Governor Lingle stated. "Making the superintendent of education directly accountable to the governor ensures there is one person ultimately in charge of improving our schools. We won't see progress until this happens."

"Students need to be in school for the duration of a traditional school year, and teachers want to be there teaching them," said HSTA President Wil Okabe about his union's tentative agreement. "Through this agreement, the Board of Education and HSTA have taken the initiative to make this possible.  We ask for the support of the legislature and the governor to bring this promising work to fruition."

The Hawaii State Teachers Association, Board of Education, and Department of Education would also have to sign off on the proposal for it to go forward.

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