Governor suggests teachers work for free on three Furlough Fridays - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Governor suggests teachers work for free on three Furlough Fridays

Catherine Payne Catherine Payne
Garrett Toguchi Garrett Toguchi

 By Jim Mendoza - bio | email 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In a press release issued Sunday, Gov. Linda Lingle called on Hawaii's public school teachers and principals to volunteer to open schools on the three Furlough Fridays that remain this school year.

The chairman of the state Board of Education called the suggestion that teachers work without pay a haphazard idea.

"To just assume that you can operate a school on a voluntary basis is ridiculous," Garrett Toguchi said. "How would you operate a school with half the faculty there but all of the students there?"

Educators said a school that opens its doors voluntarily on those furlough days could be open to liability issues if food and janitorial service workers were not on campus.

"There's security issues, particularly at secondary schools. We need to have our security staff. And these are all different bargaining units from the teachers," Farrington High School principal Catherine Payne said.

The governor's suggestion piggy backs on her pledge to release $57.2 million from the Hurricane Relief fund to restore eleven teacher furlough days next school year.

Lingle is also encouraging schools to make a decision on what personnel they need or do not need to reopen campuses.

In her statement, Lingle said.a volunteer effort by teachers and principals to restore classroom time to the final furlough days this year would be a welcome and significant gesture "to heal our community."

The governor is on the mainland but a spokesman on her staff said Lingle stands by her suggestion.

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