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HSTA Opposes Superintendent Kishimoto’s Contract Renewal with DOE

By Tiffany DeMasters
March 3, 2021, 8:54 AM HST
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HSTA President Corey Rosenlee

The Hawai‘i State Teachers Association is asking the Hawai‘i Board of Education’s Human Resources Committee to vote against a positive recommendation to renew the superintendent’s contract at their meeting today, March 3.

HSTA President Corey Rosenlee told reporters Tuesday, March 2, the union’s board of directors in August unanimously passed a no-confidence vote in the Department of Education’s Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s leadership in safely reopening schools amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve just seen time and time again the lack of willingness to work with teachers in the union,” Rosenlee said of Kishimoto. “Time after time, she’s failed to communicate adequate and timely information to DOE employees.”

Discussion of Kishimoto’s contract renewal will go to the full board for a vote at the next BOE meeting. If the committee votes not to renew her contract today, Rosenlee said, it gives an indication of what the BOE’s intention will be regarding the contract renewal.

Rosenlee noted various specific reasons for HSTA’s no-confidence in Kishimoto. At the last BOE meeting, the board voted unanimously to demand that the superintendent rescind her unilateral decision to cancel the teacher shortage differentials for hard-to-fill positions.

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During the pandemic, Rosenlee said, the BOE has had to counteract the superintendent’s decisions several times.

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The DOE is currently working on reopening elementary schools for in-person instruction by the end of the month.

“My focus right now is on safely reopening our schools,” Kishimoto told Big Island Now in an email Tuesday.

Kishimoto’s contract expires on July 31, 2021.

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat.
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