Teachers might end labor dispute


POSTED: Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hawaii's 13,000 public school teachers could be the first to break the state's long-simmering public worker labor disputes.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association says it has reached agreement with the both the Department of Education and the governing Board of Education for a new contract.

Gov. Linda Lingle, who also has to sign off on the proposal, said yesterday she is mulling it over and hopes to reach a decision soon.

“;I appreciate the department and Board of Education taking the lead in these negotiations, in coordination with my negotiation team, to work toward reaching an agreement with the HSTA that is in the best interest of teachers, our students and the general public, and that recognizes our growing budget shortfall,”; Lingle said in a prepared statement.

“;I appreciate the public's patience as we continue dealing with a widening budget deficit while trying to make certain we maintain the highest quality education possible under the circumstances,”; Lingle added.

;[Preview] State, HSTA Reach Tentative Deal

There is a tentative settlement between the state and the public school teachers' union.

Watch ]


The teachers union, in a statement released on its internal Web site available only to HSTA members, said it has “;made significant strides in negotiating a settlement. ... HSTA shared a preliminary settlement with the board; however, the contract is pending as HSTA, the DOE, and BOE await the governor's approval.”;

Public school teachers had not been notified yesterday of any details of a possible settlement.

The teachers' situation is different from that of the state's larger union, the Hawaii Government Employees Association.

When Lingle started restricting state money to address the state budget shortfall, the public school budget was cut, and Lingle told the Department of Education and school board that it would be up to them to figure out how to handle the reductions.

A portion of the budget cuts will have to come from teachers' payroll, but the school board has not finalized its budget plans.

Also complicating the school settlement was the effect on the school calendar of furloughing teachers on working days.

The HGEA and United Public Workers union did not comment on the possible state labor settlement with the HSTA.