Teachers approve plan to end Furlough Fridays - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Teachers approve plan to end Furlough Fridays

Wil Okabe Wil Okabe

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii State Teachers Association announced its members voted in favor of an agreement to end Furlough Fridays.

The HSTA says 84.5% of those who voted Wednesday in polls around the state were in favor of the settlement with the Board of Education. 13.5% were against it. About 60% of the state's about 13,000 teachers cast their ballots.

"The margin in favor of restoring a full school year for students sends a strong message to the legislature and the community that our members are eager to be back in school and return to the normal school year that our children need," HSTA President Wil Okabe said.

The HSTA and BOE agreement restores all Furlough Fridays for this year and next at a price of $92 million for the state. In return, teachers will give up seven of their non-instructional work days.

But this vote does not completely clear the way for students to return to school.

Lawmakers must set aside the money to pay for the extra days. The Governor does not agree with the HSTA and BOE agreement, not only because it is estimated to cost $30 million more. She does not agree with plans to bring back all employees, including Department of Education workers on those days.

Governor Linda Lingle says non-essential workers, should not be paid.

The Governor has also told lawmakers even if the money is allotted, she will not release it unless they pass an amendment asking voters to decide if the governor should have the power to select the schools superintendent. Those bills are stalled in the legislature.

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