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Statement on plan to reduce furlough days

Hawaii State Teachers Association President Will Okabe’s statement dated Monday, Dec. 28:

“The Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) is pleased that our Board of Directors today approved an agreement with the state Board of Education and the Department of Education to reduce the number of furlough days in the current school year.

Under the agreement, $35 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund will restore five furlough days, teachers will give up two planning days (Jan. 4 and May 21) and the remaining three instructional days will be taken as furlough days at the end of the year.

The plan is the most reasonable and viable short-term solution to provide a safe and healthy environment for our children and to maintain the quality of instruction they deserve. The agreement will salvage the remainder of the current school year and position the DOE to receive an additional $75 million in federal Race to the Top funds.

We now await the governor’s approval of this agreement so that we can return to our classrooms.

While we are encouraged that we have reached a short-term solution to reduce the number of furlough days, it is important to note that this is only a temporary fix, and we look to collaborate with our elected officials, parents and the community to reach a long-term solution to solve the funding problems facing Hawaii’s schools.”

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