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Friday, December 15, 2000

Ed board
says principals, others
deserve higher pay

By Mary Adamski

The Board of Education unanimously backed pay raises for public school principals and other middle-level education administrators, then began a discussion about increasing compensation for the state school superintendent.

The resolution passed last night did not mention any amounts. Board Chairman Herbert Watanabe said it was intended to convey a message to the governor and legislators.

"We already know we have a problem finding principals on the Big Island," said board member Keith Sakata. "We hear a whole bunch of principals might be retiring in the next couple of years. There has been a tremendous increase in principals' responsibility, in liability issues, in special education."

Educational officers are members of the Hawaii Government Employees Association. An arbitration panel awarded HGEA pay raises of 8.7 percent and 5.7 percent in a contract that the 2001 state Legislature is expected to fund. Gov. Ben Cayetano has said he would veto the $200 million settlement.

Lawmakers last session approved allowing schools Superintendent Paul LeMahieu to receive up to $150,000. Watanabe said that at least nine people in the Department of Education are paid more than LeMahieu's current $90,041 salary.

Watanabe said before the board went into an executive session last night that it is the beginning discussion now that new members are on board.

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