News

O‘ahu Senator Proposes Changes to Furloughs, Early Retirement Policies for DOE Employees

November 29, 2020, 7:30 AM HST
* Updated November 28, 10:50 PM
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Senate Minority Leader Kurt Fevella sent a letter to Gov. David Ige on Nov. 9 outlining potential policy recommendations relating to furloughs and early retirement for Department of Education employees.

“These are tough economic times and we need to be creative with our cost-saving initiatives,” Fevella said. “The recommendations that I outline in this letter are a result of community consultations that I’ve had with constituents in my district and I hope the Governor takes these recommendations into consideration.”

Fevella suggested adjusting furlough days be taken during August. Overall, he proposed 20 school days per year be taken as furlough days. He said the school year would start every year on the Tuesday following Labor Day.

“This would allow for a better planned out summer school, that is funded by parents for students needing remediation or credit retrieval,” Fevella wrote.

This would also allow, Fevella continued, teachers to be hired back to supplement income lost based on the number of students needing or wanting summer school.

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Closing an additional month in the summer would save electricity, transportation and meals. It would also allow teachers and staff to find summer jobs to supplement income.

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With regards to early retirement, Fevella suggested allowing a teacher or educator to use up to two years of sick days toward retirement.

“The State could also buy-out a teacher of up to three years of retirement combined with two years sick leave and get out five years earlier,” Fevella stated in the letter. “The State could hire back these teachers if choosing to do so to continue teaching at a base salary of $40,000 with no benefits.”

These changes, Fevella stated, would minimize the teacher shortage and allow the state to save money.

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