Hawaii lawmakers to debate $86 million bill to end furloughs - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii lawmakers to debate $86 million bill to end furloughs

Shawn Roldan Shawn Roldan
Gov. Linda Lingle Gov. Linda Lingle

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Lawmakers Thursday, will debate a bill that would carve out $86 million from the Hurricane Relief Fund to end school furloughs.

But the bill has to overcome some tough hurdles.

First, Governor Lingle, the teacher's union, and the Board of Education (BOE) must agree on a plan to restore classroom time. That way, lawmakers can lock down an exact dollar amount.

On Tuesday, the Governor presented a $62 million plan. The Hawaii State Teacher's Association (HSTA) and the BOE presented a $92 million plan.

If all sides settle on an agreement, lawmakers can tweak the $86 million figure in the bill to reflect the compromise.

Teachers say they're not so much concerned about the price tag as they are about planning days.

"I think that the more days we have as in instructional and collaborative amongst teachers, the better, and {the Governor's plan} doesn't have as much as the HSTA," said Shawn Roldan, a teacher at Dole Middle School.

Teachers will vote on HSTA and BOE's tentative agreement on March 31st.

The bill's second hurdle is that it must have strong support from the Governor.

She has the ultimate power to release the money, which she said she'll do, but under one condition - lawmakers must agree to put a question on the ballot for voters to decide whether the Governor should pick the School Superintendent.

It's a stipulation several lawmakers are criticizing, saying that's a separate issue that should be treated as such.

The bill heads to the House Finance Committee on Thursday.

Finance Chair, Representative Marcus Oshiro, says if the Governor, HSTA and the BOA don't agree soon, the $86 million allotted in the bill may go to other programs in need.

 

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