A negotiating team for the state has given a 103-page contract offer to the Hawaii State Teachers Association as talks began Wednesday on a new contract for 2013-2015.
The HSTA went into talks at Windward Community College with a new negotiating team. And already, the union's president said teachers won't find much to be happy about in the 103 pages.
"I believe that one of the things that I can say is that teachers will be disappointed by what came out of this particular meeting," said HSTA President Wil Okabe. "Not to break any confidentiality rules in regards to negotiations. I mean, we believe the economy has gotten much better."
Following the talks, State School Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and Board of Education Chairman Don Horner issued a joint statement, saying, ""We appreciate teachers for their professionalism and dedication, which have resulted in excellent progress by our students. Together with the Governor, we share the goal of achieving an agreement that provides for Hawaii's teachers and reflects their contributions to students and the state. We are committed and hopeful that we can reach a positive resolution for the benefit of teachers, students, and the state."
"We intend to look at the 103-page document that the state has given to us, and we will need the time to look at all of the things that the state has proposed to us as teachers, and go from there," said Okabe, adding that talks will resume after the HSTA has completed examining the offer.
The talks come as teachers plan a so-called "work to rule" protest Thursday at James Campbell High School, the state's largest public school, to express their frustration at having to work under a contract that was imposed on them. Instead of striking, they plan to follow the contract to the letter.
"The governor's mandate says we work from 8 to 3," said Campbell High School social studies teacher and protest organizer Corey Rosenlee. "So what we're saying it, alright, that's exactly what we're going to do. We'll work from 8 to 3."
Teachers said it was to prove a point. For example, they spend time in meetings after classes. "And then comes the planning and the grading and the entering grades and calling parents and writing letters of recommendation and everything else that the teacher does," said Dr. Tammy Jones, the senior class advisor at Campbell. "It couldn't physically happen if everything stopped at 3."
But as part of the protest, teachers will not work after 3 p.m. Thursday. Instead, they'll be marching and waving signs.
Some of their students were also making signs to show support for the teachers. "The teachers aren't paid past three o'clock, and most of the clubs and other activities take place way after three," said senior Christian Caddali.
"People don't realize the extra events that we have, like homecoming and proms and things like that, that they actually come on their own time after school, on the weekends, to help us," said student body president Brianna Ramos.
The HSTA said Okabe will be at the protest. "The teachers feel very frustrated, and they feel they have been disrespected by the governor."
There may be more than 200 teachers in the protest. According to Rosenlee, Campbell High teachers will be joined by teachers from Iroquois Point and Kaleiopuu Elementary Schools and Waipahu Intermediate School.
Another "work to rule" protest is planned November 29. Rosenlee said he hopes the movement will spread to schools statewide.