6,000 Teachers, Supporters Rally at State Capitol

February 13, 2017, 3:54 PM HST · Updated February 13, 3:54 PM
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Rally at Hawaiʻi State Capitol. (2.13.17) Courtesy photo.

An estimated 6,000 public school teachers and advocates of Hawaiʻi’s public education system rallied at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol today, seeking what they call a “fair contract.”

The rally, organized by the Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association also was held in support of a constitutional amendment seeking more funding for public schools.

“It’s our responsibility as a community to come together and fight for our keiki to make education a priority,” said HSTA President Corey Rosenlee. “Instead of just talking about the inadequacy of our school system, we have come up with attainable solutions. Our plan will give all children the quality education they deserve.”

HSTA March to Hawaiʻi State Capitol. (2.13.17)

“We need to start paying our teachers better. We need to make sure that every child, regardless of where they live, has a quality teacher in their classroom,” said Rosenlee during this morning’s rally.

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State Sen. Michelle Kidani, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, addressed the crowd saying, “We want our legislators to know that we mean business… Thank you for fighting the good fight. It is about our children. Let us not forget that,” said Kidani, who introduced HSTA’s constitutional amendment proposals in the State Senate.

“We were encouraged to see so many teachers, parents, students and members of the community gather to raise awareness about our proposals that are designed to significantly improve Hawaiʻi’s school system and create a better future for our keiki,” added Rosenlee.

Supporters of the legislation say that by levying a surcharge on residential investment properties and visitor accommodations, the state would be able to raise about $500 million a year for education without placing an “unfair financial burden” on local residents. The proposals are SB683 and SB686 in the Senate and HB180 and HB182 in the House.

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