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HSTA board
recommends pact

The teachers union members
vote May 13 on an agreement
that boosts pay 7 percent



CORRECTION

Saturday, May 1, 2003

The Hawaii State Teachers Association said a 3.14 percent salary increase for lower-ranked teachers is due to the teachers moving up on the pay scale, rather than getting a raise. An information box on Page A3 yesterday said the lower-ranked teachers are getting a raise.



The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at fbridgewater@starbulletin.com.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association's board voted unanimously last night to recommend that the union's 13,000 members ratify a new contract that will cost the state $27 million and increase teachers' wages by as much as 7 percent.

"This is the first step to building a better salary package," said HSTA President Roger Takabayashi. "We must continue to give teachers a reason to stay. Getting -- and keeping -- high-quality teachers is the key to student achievement."

Teachers will vote May 13 on whether to approve the contract, which would give teachers a 3 percent salary increase at the start of the 2004-05 school year.

According to the contract, teachers in salary steps three to 14 would move up one step, which amounts to a 3.14 percent increase, Takabayashi said. The teachers in the top salary ranking, step 14A, would simply get a 3 percent increase.

At the beginning of the school year's second semester, teachers would get a 1 percent across-the-board raise.

At the same time, all but the top-ranked teachers would be moved up in the pay scale for another 3.14 percent raise.

The union's negotiating committee and officers met last night for more than two hours to discuss the contract before the 27-member board voted to send the agreement to the members for a vote.

HSTA Executive Director Joan Husted said the deal, which is aimed at attracting new recruits, is a step forward. But, she said, "we're still competing" with other states for recent education graduates.

The agreement runs until June 2005, and HSTA negotiators will begin talks on their next contract in November.

At the end of a tentative two-year contract, salaries for starting public school teachers would increase by about $2,200, to $36,486 a year. The contract would increase salaries for top-scale teachers by more than $2,500, to $66,203 annually.

Earlier, the union had asked for a 5 percent raise retroactive for the 2003-04 school year and another 5 percent for following school year. In the tentative agreement, there are no retroactive raises.

Teachers' reactions to the raises varied last night, with some questioning the difference of increases depending on seniority.

Gail Kuroda, an English teacher at Waialua High and Intermediate School, said she was just pleased to be getting a raise.

"I wasn't really expecting anything," she said. Kuroda, who has been teaching since 2001, added that she thought the percentage increases should be the same for all members.

"The teachers on the top levels, they've put in so much, so many years, and they've done so much professional development to get there," she said. "It's a shame that they can't get the same as the lower-level teachers."

Kapolei Middle School social and popular dance teacher Tracy Taylor agreed.

"It would be nice as a teacher to know that we are appreciated, that it is hard work working with kids," he said. "I think their putting an increase in pay for the new teachers is a good thing. A problem is that it's hard to keep the top-level teachers."

And, he said, "they aren't really giving them an incentive to stay."

The deal was reached Wednesday night after more than 10 hours of negotiations at HSTA headquarters in Moanalua. Both sides were rushing to reach agreement by today, the deadline to submit legislation that would pay for the raises.

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Raises vary
according to rank

Here are the salary details from the state's deal with the Hawaii State Teachers Association.

At the start of the 2004-05 school year:

>> Top-paid teachers will get a 3 percent increase.
>> Lower-ranked teachers will move up in the pay scale, getting what amounts to a 3.14 percent raise.

In the second half of the year:

>> All HSTA members will get a 1 percent increase.
>> All teachers, except for those at the top of the pay scale, will also get a 3 percent raise.
Total cost is $27 million.
Source: HSTA


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