Maui News

HSTA Board Recommends Tentative Agreement for Four-Year Contract

April 23, 2017, 2:48 AM HST
* Updated April 23, 3:02 AM
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Corey Rosenlee, president of the 13,500-Member Hawaii State Teachers Association, announced that the HSTA Board is recommending a tentative agreement for four-year contract.

If a simple majority (50% plus one vote) of the teachers who vote Thursday ratify the agreement, the contract will begin July 1, 2017.  The April 27 vote allows for the state legislature to fund the settlement by its April 28 fiscal deadline.

In a statement on Saturday night, Rosenlee said, “I am pleased that after nine months of negotiations, the state and the HSTA have reached a tentative agreement on a contract that will benefit Hawaiʻi’s teachers and their students.  I believe this agreement is the beginning of providing professional salaries that will attract and retain the best and the brightest into Hawaiʻi’s classrooms.”

Teachers and students from Kamalii Elementary in Kīhei participated in a sign wave Tuesday, March 7 to bring awareness to teacher contract negotiations across the state. Photo: Nikki Schenfeld

Under the proposal, Hawaiʻi’s public school teachers would see a compounded salary increase of 13.6% over the next four years. Rosenlee said this proposed raise will help stabilize the teaching force, and as a result, improve teaching and learning conditions.

“This package is the best we could do for our teachers, in spite of the state’s difficult fiscal outlook. It allows for HSTA to renegotiate health plan contributions and professional development in years three and four of the contract,” said Rosenlee.

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Under the agreement, the state would increase its share of health insurance premiums, addressing rising health care costs.  The agreement also calls for streamlined evaluations for most tenured teachers during the next two years while the HSTA and Department of Education work together on an improved evaluation process.

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“I believe that the reason we have a tentative agreement in large part is because of the ongoing pressure teachers put on the state to settle the contract in the best interests of the teachers and students. HSTA members are very grateful to Gov. David Ige for personally taking part in negotiations over several days to help us reach an agreement that’s fair to everyone,” said Rosenlee.

“I am hopeful that HSTA members will vote to ratify the agreement at polling sites across the state on Thursday, April 27. Then we can move toward transforming public education in Hawaiʻi to give our keiki the schools they deserve,” said Rosenlee.

Governor David Ige issued a statement following the HSTA announcement saying, “This contract represents my commitment to excellence in our public schools and the practice of teaching. It says we trust and respect Hawaii’s teachers. Together, will make Hawaii a place our children can choose to call home.”

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