Hawaiʻi Teachers Ratify Pay Increase Deal
By Wendy Osher
Members of the Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association voted to ratify a new four-year contract yesterday.
Officials with the teachers union released information on their website saying a total of 70% of the HSTA’s 13,000 members participated in yesterday’s vote.
An estimated 95% of teachers who cast votes, the union says, voted in favor of the tentative deal.
According to information released by the HSTA, the contract calls for pay increases equivalent to 3%, above the restored 5% cut in July 2012. In subsequent years, the HSTA says teachers will also see increases of 3% and 3.2%, and the restoration of health insurance premium percentages.
The deal also calls for a seat at the table during discussions on an educator evaluation system.
Governor Neil Abercrombie released a statement following the vote saying, “The teachers’ ratification of this contract is a positive milestone for public education in Hawaii. We can now move forward as partners in transforming education for the benefit of our students and the entire state.”
He continued saying, “On behalf of my administration, the Department of Education, and the Board of Education, we extend our sincere appreciation to Hawaii’s teachers for their dedication, sacrifices and professionalism in the classroom.”
The governor will join representatives of both the State of Hawaiʻi and Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association negotiating teams to hold a news conference regarding the contract ratification. The will take place at 10:30 a.m. and will be streamed live here.
HSTA president Wil Okabe commented in the web post saying, “Through sign waving, e-mails, letters, and phone calls, HSTA members have shown unwavering commitment to education, putting pressure on the state to settle the contract in the best interests of the teachers and their students.”
He continued saying, “With the support of our members, the HSTA plans to move forward by collaborating with all stakeholders to transform public education in Hawaii.”
The new contract will take effect July 1, in time for the next school year.