State of Hawaiʻi reaches tentative contract deal with teachers association
The State of Hawaiʻi and the teachers association have reached a tentative settlement that includes an approximately 14.5% pay increase over the 4-year contract, which begins July 1, 2023.
The settlement, which covers 13,500 teachers represented by the union, was announced on April 17 by Gov. Josh Green, Department of Education Superintendent Keith Hayashi and Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association president Osa Tui, Jr.
The proposed 4-year contract provides average annual pay raises of 3.4% for teachers to help stabilize Hawai‘i’s public education workforce. Overall, this package will increase the average teacher salary by more than $10,000, according to the union.
It raises pay for instructors, who are teachers working toward licensure, which will help in teacher recruitment.
The settlement also provides bonuses for the most experienced teachers to increase teacher retention.
Additionally, teachers who traditionally work after-hours to support extracurricular programs such as band, drama and chorus, will receive raises to acknowledge their significant contributions to student enrichment.
Other cost-items include increases in employer contributions to teachers’ health insurance premiums.
“While the state had been predicting a budget surplus, the Council on Revenues’ revised forecast slashed projections by $328 million, affecting key funding decisions,” Tui said in a statement on the unionʻs website. “Also, a number of key education-related initiatives, including universal pre-K, developing teacher workforce housing, and state teacher tax credits will take considerable resources to fund.
Tui added: “We had asked for significantly larger raises, but understand that the state has less money to pay for numerous key priorities in addition to addressing teacher compensation, such as creating affordable housing, bringing down the state’s high cost of living and preserving our natural resources.”
But Tui said it is the “strongest contract” the teachers union has achieved since 2013.
“Ultimately, the salary improvements … will benefit the public school students of Hawaiʻi who should see improved recruitment and retention of highly qualified educators to our classrooms,” he said.
The agreement also establishes a program to minimize learning-loss during emergency school closures, by allowing schools to continue delivering instruction.
The agreement assures improvements in health and safety in the work environment, and provides for creation of work groups to address student needs including Hawaiian Education; Career and Technical Education; movement toward a restorative student discipline model; and for English Language Learners (formerly English as a Second Language).
“This agreement helps set a solid foundation for the next four years with predictable increases that recognize the incredible work of the educators in our schools who directly support student learning,” Hayashi said. “It also elevates the teaching profession across the pipeline — from beginning teachers to veteran teachers to non-traditional teachers — while supporting their continued professional growth.”
Green added: “This is another great step forward in raising pay and improving the quality of life for our teachers, who we value tremendously.”
Full details of the pending contract settlement can be found on the Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association website.
The teachers association will stage statewide, in-person contract ratification voting at various locations on April 26.