Teacher watching contract wrangling - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Teacher watching contract wrangling

Eric Bott, McKinley High School Teacher Eric Bott, McKinley High School Teacher

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Eric Bott teaches social studies at McKinley High School where he has one eye on his summer school lessons and the other on the Department of Education's contract offer.

"It's definitely going to take money out of the pocketbook. Everyone knows that medical costs are going up," he said.

The DOE's "last,best and final offer" to the state's 12,700 public school teachers includes what amounts to a five-percent pay cut and a higher co-payment for medical insurance.

On Tuesday, Gov. Neil Abercrombie called it "the best combination that we could put together in these tough times."

Bott is married with a baby on the way. He supplements his income through a part-time job. He said if the contract is implemented as it is, he will adjust.

"One thing I do appreciate that the previous administration did, and that mood seems to be kept here, is to try to keep everyone who is employed employed," he said.

In a statement to Hawaii News Now, HSTA president Wil Okabe said the teacher's union is committed to bringing the negotiations "to a successful conclusion."

But there is no new negotiations scheduled with the state.

Bott said he'll wait and see.

"The economy is tying a lot of people's hands," he said. "I can't really complain about what they're doing."

Last week, Hawaii State Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi notified teachers of her intention to put the offer into effect as of July 1.

Bott said whatever happens he'll be in the classroom when the school bell rings.

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