State unveils teacher pay plan aimed at ending shortage of qualified educators

Published: Dec. 3, 2019 at 5:54 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The schools superintendent, governor and other education leaders pitched what they called a bold plan aimed at ending the teacher shortage.

It calls for spending $15 million in 2020 and double that in 2021 to give pay raises for certain teachers.

“This is solvable. We have a shortage now in our state and we must take bold action to realize Hawaii’s exceptional public education system,” said Christina Kishimoto, schools superintendent.

Added Board of Education Chairwoman Catherine Payne: “From Molokai to our Hawaiian immersion students on our Waianae Coast, these are students that have languished for years without the teachers who are qualified to teach."

Lindsay Ball is an area complex superintendent overseeing schools in hard to staff areas including Hana, Molokai and Lanai.

“The current system of providing incentive to those teachers in those locations is just not working so we need some candidates to interview and hopefully this will be a jump start to do that,” he said.

A new certified teacher earns $49,100 per year.

Currently, teachers in hard to staff areas get an additional $3,000 per year, but there's no pay incentive for special education teachers.

Under the DOE’s proposal, special ed teachers would get a $10,000 per year raise, teachers in hard-to-staff locations would get $3,000 to $8,000 more under a tiered scale and Hawaiian immersion teachers would get $8,000.

“We are hoping that teachers from other communities that the incentive is high enough to make that drive so there is equity within all of our schools,” said Corey Rosenlee, HSTA president.

The proposal still needs approval from the BOE and legislature. If all goes as planned, teachers could get a pay raise early next year.

Next year, the DOE plans to roll out details to improve teacher recruitment and retention.

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