By: Beth Hillyer
(KHNL) - Teachers returning to class here at Puuhale Elementary in the morning will not have a new contract. That's because there are so many absentee ballots not in yet. They have until May 2nd to hand them in.
Many cast their votes at polling places on the controversial contract. Hawaii State Teacher's Association Executive Director Joan Husted says,
"What I hope is that the teachers make a reasoned decision that they think is in the best interest of teaching and public education. Everyone will make a decision based on different issues."
And the divisive issue in this contract is the required random drug testing.
Teacher Ann Hansen says, "none of us have a problem for those showing reasonable signs of drug problems. We all agree to drug testing reasonable suspicion that's not the problem for people no indication the ones definitely opposed."
Teacher Cris Perez adds, "My sign says lead by example. It's about the kids. None of us got into the profession to become rich."
The 11 percent raise over two years is tempting but this contract would make Hawaii only the second state in the nation to require statewide teacher drug testing.
Hansen concludes, "We have only 2 choices. There is yes or no. And we are not satisfied with either. I chose yes but I am going to guess there are a lot of no's."
One teacher we spoke with tonight feels the drug testing discriminates.