Categorized | Education

State, HSTA reach tentative agreement


Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, and Board of Education (BOE) Chairman Don Horner announced Sunday that a tentative agreement has been reached between the State of Hawaii and the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA).

The four-year tentative agreement that the HSTA will now take to its members for ratification, includes annual pay increases and performance evaluations for teachers.

“This is a major breakthrough for our teachers, our students, and the future of our state. I believe this contract is fair and provides opportunities for pay increases, which are long overdue after years of sacrifice from teachers and other public employees,” Abercrombie said. “With the state now being administered in a fiscally sound manner and improving economic estimates by the Council of Revenues, we were able to offer a comprehensive and favorable contract.”

“Public school teachers and their union representatives are critical partners in transforming education for our students and our state,” Matayoshi said. “We’ve worked very hard to get to this point, and we remain committed to providing teachers with necessary resources and support to achieve our strategic goals.”

“The Board is appreciative of the dedication, sacrifices, and achievements of our teachers,” Horner said. “This agreement will allow us, together, to better support our teachers in reaching the objectives of our educational strategic plan.”

This tentative agreement comes after a week of mediation between the two parties. The HSTA membership will now review the agreement and vote on it.

Letter from HSTA President Wil Okabe:

Aloha Colleagues,

I am pleased that after more than two years of negotiating with the Employer, sometimes in contentious times, that the Employer and HSTA have come together on a contract that will serve Hawaii’s teachers and their students.

The teachers on your Negotiations Team, Negotiations Committee, and Board feel that this tentative agreement is the beginning of providing professional salaries that will attract and retain the best and-the-brightest into Hawaii’s classrooms.

A copy of the tentative agreement is available on your Web site. In addition, there will be meetings and opportunities for all teachers to get more information and to ask questions about the tentative agreement. These details will be posted on your Web site.

Here are some basic highlights of the tentative agreement:

* Teachers in Hawaii’s public schools will see the equivalent of a 3 percent pay increase over and above the restored 5 percent cut this July.

* In subsequent years teachers will see increases of 3 percent and 3.2 percent. This will do a lot to stabilize the teaching force, which we know will improve teaching and learning conditions.

* Teachers will be represented at the table where decisions about the future of the educator evaluation system will be made. We want caring, committed, and knowledgeable teachers in every classroom and an evaluation system that improves the practice of teaching that leads to improved student learning and produces real results.

* Under the last, best and final offer presented to Hawaii’s teachers nearly two years ago, teachers had an increase in their health insurance premiums. Under this agreement, we are pleased that the Employer has made a major step towards restoring the previous insurance premium percentages.

Thank you for standing up for public education. I believe that the reason we have a tentative agreement in large part is because of the ongoing pressure teachers put on the Employer to settle the contract in the best interests of teachers and students.

Your Board and I am hopeful that HSTA members will vote to support the agreement so we can move on to the business of working collaboratively with all the stakeholders to transform public education in Hawaii that improves student learning and produces real results.

Wil Okabe
HSTA President

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