Tentative agreement reached; Ratification vote April 27; Look up where to vote here

Teachers across the state will vote Thursday, April 27 on a tentative agreement reached between the HSTA and the employer for a four-year contract from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2021.

Look up your school here and find your polling place for Thursday’s vote.

On Saturday, April 22, the Negotiations Committee met and recommended that the Board of Directors accept the agreement and recommended it to the membership. The HSTA Board of Directors then voted to accept the tentative agreement, authorize a contract ratification vote on Thursday, April 27 and unanimously recommended ratification to HSTA’s members.

Informational meetings, where teachers were briefed on the settlement and had their questions answered, were held after school Monday, April 24 through Wednesday, April 26.

See the informational meeting schedule, ratification vote times and locations and voting procedures. bit.ly/hstavoteinfo 

Look up your school here and find your polling place for Thursday’s vote.

The tentative agreement is a win for teachers and over a four-year period provides for pay raises through across-the-board salary increases, step movements and bonuses for teachers at Step 14B. The increases will be equivalent to a compounded 13.6 percent raise over that four-year period.

In addition, the state has agreed to provide more money toward teachers’ health premiums.

For salary and health benefits information, full details of the contract and more, see this password-protected, members-only web story.

The agreement also includes language about one of the major negotiations sticking points — teacher evaluations. For the next two years, the great majority of our tenured members will go through the streamlined evaluation process while the Joint Committee works to change and improve evaluation.

Other highlights include improvements to the assignment and transfers process, the establishment of a committee to address our English language learners (ELL) and the continuation of the 21 professional development hours with pay and credits. The agreement allows us to renegotiate health plan contributions and 21 hours in years three and four.

There are so many people to thank who made this agreement possible. First off, our amazing Negotiations Team and Negotiations Committee have worked for months to make this happen. Our Negotiations Team members are HSTA President Corey Rosenlee, Paul Daugherty and Shannon Kaaa, under the amazing leadership of Chair Osa Tui and Vice Chair Diane Mokuau. The team rolled with the punches and continued to come up with innovative ways to get the best deal possible for teachers within the confines of the state’s difficult fiscal situation. Our Chief Negotiator Andrea Eshelman has kept us on track and provided positive, excellent leadership, even when things looked grim.

Words cannot express how grateful we are to Governor David Ige for personally getting deeply involved in our negotiations. We send a heart-felt mahalo to the governor and his chief of staff, Mike McCartney, who spent hours and hours at HSTA during bargaining sessions over the last three days, sometimes coming back twice in the same day and staying past midnight.

But most important, we’d like to thank every teacher who took the time to speak up and speak out at rallies, on petitions, in testimony, emails, letters and phone calls over the last few months. Your collective voice was heard loud and clear.

HSTA President Corey Rosenlee said, “Thank you for standing up for public education and the schools our keiki deserve. The collective action taken by teachers this school year played a major role in helping us to reach this tentative agreement that serves the best interests of teachers and students.”

“Your Board and I hope HSTA members will vote to ratify the agreement,” Rosenlee added. “After nine months of negotiations, this agreement represents a major step in the right direction that will help to attract and retain the best and brightest teachers and allow Hawaii to move forward to transform public education and produce real results for students.”