Pay cuts for Hawaii state employees seem less likely after a new $470 billion coronavirus relief plan appeared ready for Congressional approval, while the president said further aid to state and localities would be discussed as part of the next aid package.
Gov. David Ige told a news conference Monday, “I just really want to assure everyone that salary reductions would be the last resort” in dealing with plummeting tax revenues because of the coronavirus.
Legislative leaders joined HSTA educators in opposing Gov. David Ige's initial pay cut idea, and he said Wednesday “no decisions have been made yet.“
“This is a bold step to finally take care of this problem to make sure that every keiki in Hawaii has a qualified teacher,” said HSTA President Corey Rosenlee in testimony to the BOE Thursday.
Veteran teachers statewide would receive salary increases by moving up anywhere from one to five steps, gaining millions of dollars worth of salary increases if lawmakers approve a proposal from the state schools superintendent.
DOE, BOE leaders commit to a multi-phased approach to help end the teacher shortage crisis.
The proposals to address compression, create shortage differentials for SpEd and Hawaiian language immersion educators and expand hard-to-staff bonuses are a positive step forward in the HSTA's five-year plan to end the statewide teacher shortage crisis.
The HSTA suggests significantly boosting the dollar amounts bonuses each year at locations plagued by a high percentage of unlicensed teachers, in geographically isolated complexes and where the combination of vacancies and emergency hires makes up more than 10 percent of the teaching force.
Being a Hawaiian immersion teacher is "more than just a job, it is a mission," say those devoted to the field, which requires huge amounts of extra work creating and implementing curricula in the Hawaiian language that's not readily available.
The National Council on Teacher Quality reports at least 35 of the major school districts across the country already offer SpEd teachers a financial bonus of some kind, ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 a year. Hawaii offers no pay differential for SpEd teachers.