Furlough Fix Floated by Governor

November 16, 2009, 8:39 AM HST · Updated November 16, 8:39 AM
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Governor Linda Lingle announced a plan over the weekend to restore classroom days lost to furlough Fridays.  The plan calls for the restoration of 27 days over a one and a half year period beginning on Jan. 1, 2010.

The plan calls for the use of $50 million in rainy day funds, and the use of non-instructional days as regular classroom time instead.

The plan would require a renegotiation of teacher contracts between the unions and the state, and the convening of a special session of the state legislature.

Governor Linda Lingle said the plan would ensure there is no classroom time lost for the period of January 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011.

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The breakdown includes the use of 15 non-classroom teacher instructional days between Jan. 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011 as regular class time.  For those teachers who work on a 12-month schedule, a comparable adjustment would be made.

The cost of restoring the remaining 12 days would be achieved by using money out of the Emergency Budget Reserve Fund (Rainy Day Fund).

Below is a list of advantages Governor Linda Lingle oulined for the plan:

1.        It allows us to refocus on improving the quality of instruction in
our public school system, including putting together a competitive plan to position Hawai’i to compete for additional federal education funding, such as Race to the Top.

2.        It restores stability to the school year and eliminates the
disruption that has occurred to family schedules.

3.        It reflects a shared approach to addressing this matter-some
furlough days, teachers contribute their non-instructional time, and the
State provides some additional compensation to cover the remaining days.

4.        It enables the state’s political leaders and businesses to focus
on growing our economy and our quest to achieve energy independence and security.

(Posted by Wendy Osher)

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