Hawaiʻi teachers ratify new four-year contract with 14.5% raises
Hawaiʻi’s public school teachers have overwhelmingly approved a new four-year contract providing pay raises of approximately 14.5%, as well as other cost and non-cost improvements.
Ninety-two percent of the nearly 7,000 valid ballots cast approved the contract that will take effect July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2027. Nearly 8% voted against the contract.
Wednesday’s ratification paves the way for state lawmakers to approve the $577 million to fund the contract before the end of the legislative session.
“We have a deep appreciation for Hawaiʻi’s teachers and and this contract was meant to demonstrate that. By raising starting salaries to $50,000, we hope more of Hawaii’s young men and women will aspire to become teachers,” said Governor Green. “Higher salaries and bonuses for veteran teachers will also improve teacher retention and reduce teacher shortages. Good public education remains one of our top priorities.”
“HSTA thanks bargaining unit members who came out today to ratify a new four-year contract, which will help to recruit and retain teachers and give further stability for our keiki to have highly qualified teachers in their classrooms,” said Osa Tui, HSTA president.
Pay bonuses in the ratified agreement will strengthen retention of experienced, top-scale teachers, while pay increases in the new contract will apply to instructors who are teachers working toward state licensure. The increase is one of the contract’s key tools for invigorating teacher recruitment.
Specialized teachers whose after-hours work to support extracurricular programs including band, chorus and drama, now will be recognized financially for their often life-changing contributions to the lives of their students.
To help offset Hawaiʻi’s cost of living, employer contributions to teachers’ health insurance premiums will also increase in the new contract.
“We’re happy to see the overwhelming support from teachers for this contract that all sides worked diligently on, to elevate the teaching profession in our public schools,” said Department of Education Superintendent Keith Hayashi. The Department appreciates the collaborative effort with HSTA, Governor Green, and his administration.”
The agreement aligns with Governor Green’s priorities in that it will provide financial relief to valued educators, to help keep them at home in the islands.
“Raising the beginning teachers’ pay from the upper $38,000s to $50,000 – that is remarkable…we’ve never seen anything like that,” said Louise Cayetano, a Fern Elementary STEM/robotics teacher. “We want to thank the governor and everyone involved – in the Legislature, and our bargaining teams for their support..”
Chris Facuri, a media production teacher at Aliamanu Middle School, has been an educator for 35 years and voted in favor of HSTA’s contract.
“This is probably one of the more substantial raises that we’ve had. And it’s good to see that, you know, we’re going in a positive direction. Especially for the senior teachers…at least you got an incentive for them to kind of keep on going and pursue their career,” Facuri said.
Kuulei Arakaki, a McKinley High special education teacher, said, “We need a contract. We need to get our raises. We work super hard…We put in like 60-70 hour weeks, and yeah, we deserve to get a little bit of a pay hike.”
A final tally will be taken on May 4 to account for outstanding absentee ballots that are being mailed in, but the remaining uncounted ballots are not enough to sway the outcome of the ratification vote.