In a bid to keep them on the job, veteran public school teachers in Hawaii are getting a raise

The state injected more than $130 million to adjust state Department of Education pay schedules.
Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 4:04 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 25, 2022 at 4:36 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - State public school teachers return to campus Tuesday for the new school year, including some who originally planned to retire.

They say a new law convinced them to keep teaching.

The state injected more than $130 million to adjust state Department of Education pay schedules so veteran educators can get the pay they say matches their years of service.

Some hope that bump will help ease the state’s teacher shortage.

“Nearly 9,000 educators will see their salaries increased anywhere from $7,000 to $26,000 In the weeks and months ahead,” said Osa Tui, Jr., Hawaii State Teachers Association president.

It’s a new pay scale for a new school year ― and longtime teachers say it sends an important message.

“We respect you, we see you, we are finally recognizing you have something to share with the incoming teachers. That’s the part that’s valuable for keeping teachers in place,” said Melissa Padilla, who’s taught at Campbell High for 30 years.

HSTA says for years, thousands of veteran educators have not received regular raises, unlike newly hired teachers.

The union says that inequity combined with the pandemic contributed to a 33% jump in teacher retirement from the DOE. The hope is that this year fewer teachers will leave the profession.

Teachers called the change a “correction” ― not just to their paychecks but to their lack of work-life balance.

“It’s going to mean for a lot of teachers that maybe they can give up their third job, or their second job depending on what they’re earning right now,” said Ashley Olson, a teacher at Lahainaluna High School for nearly 30 years.

Time, they say, that can be invested back into students and the community.

“That ease and stress will translate into the classroom, you know, so, so that I can be more patient and tolerant and understanding and, and, and passionate again,” Mike Hino, a teacher at Molokai Middle School for 30 years, who canceled his planned retirement.

HSTA says the money should hit paychecks in a few weeks, retroactive to July 1st.

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