Substitute teachers lose suit over raise
A group of public school substitute teachers suing the state Department of Education for failing to raise their pay by 4 percent on Aug. 1 have lost a round in court.
Circuit Judge Victoria Marks ruled Monday that the Education Department was not required to give an estimated 4,000 substitute teachers the same salary increases awarded to full-time employees under a new two-year contract, said attorney Bruce Wakuzawa.
He said the teachers plan to file an appeal within a month.
"While we respectfully disagree with Judge Marks' decision on the merits, she did certify a class of substitute teachers to pursue the litigation," he said.
Substitute teachers are paid different daily rates, depending on experience. Those without bachelor's degrees earn $125 for a seven-hour day; those with bachelor's degrees get $136; and those with full teacher's credentials earn $147.
State law ties wages for substitutes to the pay for "Class II Teachers," or those with bachelor's degrees. The lawsuit contends that because those teachers received a 4 percent raise on Aug. 1, so should substitute teachers.
The class action lawsuit was filed by substitute teachers David Garner of Maui, David Hudson of the Big Island and Jo Jennifer Goldsmith and Allan Kliternick of Oahu.
Garner and Kliternick joined in a previous, separate class action lawsuit over back pay, alleging that the state had shortchanged substitute teachers millions of dollars from November 2000 to June 2005. Circuit Judge Karen Ahn ruled in their favor in December 2005, but the state has appealed the decision.