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Friday, March 9, 2001

HSTA says
state offer is
‘same package’

Yesterday's contract talks failed
to resolve the disparity between
the state and the teachers union

By Crystal Kua

The state's latest contract offer to Hawaii's 12,000 public school teachers does little to address a teacher shortage, says the chief negotiator for the Hawaii State Teachers Association.

"It doesn't come anywhere near in solving the problem," Joan Husted said. "It's not going to get resolved with the kind of money they're talking."

But the state's chief negotiator, Davis Yogi, said the state's offer does strive to meet the objectives of the union and the Department of Education.

"The state offered a settlement position that attempts to meet the teachers' demands for those who are at the top of the scale and addresses the department's concerns to recruit employees," Yogi said.

Both sides met yesterday afternoon in formal talks for nearly two hours.

Husted said the state's offer includes no raises for the first two years of a four-year contract and raises of either a dollar amount or percentage for each of the remaining two years for an average total raise of 9 percent.

Yogi said the state's offer is above 11 percent, but Husted said the union's calculations of the offer do not show that.

"It's essentially the same package restructured," Husted said, with the state's proposal amounting to $67 million, which it had previously offered.

The HSTA has offered across-the-board raises of 10 percent and step increases totaling 12 percent over four years. Teachers say the raise is needed to recruit and retain teachers at a time of a state and national teacher shortage.

Yogi said: "We're hoping that this (offer) would address the HSTA's objectives of an offering of 10 percent to 22 percent. We're trying to get close to that to avert a strike."

No formal talks are expected until after Wednesday's scheduled strike vote, Husted said.

But both sides will continue to talk informally, she said.

The HSTA is holding the vote at locations across the state:

Bullet The Neal Blaisdell arena on Oahu.
Bullet Hilo High School, Waimea Elementary and Intermediate, Kealakehe Intermediate on the Big Island.
Bullet Lahaina Intermediate, Hana High and Elementary, King Kekaulike and Maui High on Maui.
Bullet Lanai School.
Bullet Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School on Kauai.

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