East Hawaii News

State, Teachers Union Reach Tentative Agreement

March 25, 2013, 11:46 AM HST
* Updated March 25, 11:50 AM
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A tentative agreement on a new contract has been reached between the state and the union representing Hawaii’s teachers.

The announcement about the agreement between the state Department of Education and the Hawaii State Teachers Association was made Sunday night by Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

The members of the HSTA are scheduled to vote on the four-year agreement on April 17. If ratified the contract would take effect on July 1.

The new contract would restore the 5% pay cut enacted in 2011 when the state imposed its “last, best and final” contract, and an additional 3% pay hike for the first year.

Pay raises scheduled for the rest of the contract would be 3.2%, 3% and 3.2% annually.

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Teachers at the top of the pay scale would also receive $1,500 bonuses in the first and third years of the contract.

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The tentative agreement also restores health insurance premiums to the level before they were raised in 2011, when the teachers’ share of the cost went to 50% from 40%. According to union leaders, restoring the previous rate was a key component of the new pact.

Abercrombie said the state’s improving economy made the agreement possible.

“This is a major breakthrough for our teachers, our students, and the future of our state. I believe this contract is fair and provides opportunities for pay increases, which are long overdue after years of sacrifice from teachers and other public employees,” Abercrombie said in a statement issued Sunday night.

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“With the state now being administered in a fiscally sound manner and improving economic estimates by the Council of Revenues, we were able to offer a comprehensive and favorable contract,” he said.

“Public school teachers and their union representatives are critical partners in transforming education for our students and our state,” said Kathryn Matayoshi, state superintendent of schools. “We’ve worked very hard to get to this point, and we remain committed to providing teachers with necessary resources and support to achieve our strategic goals.”

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