May your winter break be a rejuvenating one with a promising year ahead

As 2022 comes to a close, mahalo for your support and dedication as a member of the Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association. Through our collective efforts, we achieved many of the goals we set forth to accomplish a year ago. As we reflect on the year gone by, we know much more remains to be done, and we look forward to continued progress in the year ahead!

Our wins in 2022

This year got off to a rocky start. The omicron variant surged after our last holiday season and many schools resorted to contract violations authorized by the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (HIDOE) rather than coming to the table for impact bargaining. HSTA expressed serious concerns and eventually HIDOE rescinded its memo regarding the emergency assignment of teachers.

Fortunately, a rebounding economy allowed us to successfully work with the Legislature, the governor, and the HIDOE. Together, we restored 21 hours of job-embedded professional development pay and maintained shortage differentials. In November, teachers finally began getting paid according to their years of service through salary repricing, which resolved a longstanding issue of compression. This prompted many teachers who had previously planned to retire to stay in their positions.

HSTA continues to work on a number of issues with individual charter schools, the Hawaiʻi Public Charter School Commission, and the state Budget and Finance Department to ensure schools submit the data necessary to facilitate the release of charter school funding for shortage differentials and repricing adjustments.

Our vision for 2023

This coming year, HSTA will be the only unit to reopen full contract negotiations as our current contract expires June 30, 2023. A brief introductory meeting took place Dec. 14 with new faces at the bargaining table from the governor’s administration, the HIDOE, and the Board of Education.

Your HSTA Negotiations Team will make the most of this opportunity to push for issues that have gone unaddressed in previous bargaining sessions, as well as support for our most veteran educators and those with experience outside of Hawaiʻi public schools who were not recognized through recent repricing fixes. Rest assured, we will share our initial set of proposals with you as well as regular updates throughout the bargaining process.

Meanwhile, your HSTA Government Relations Committee members will be working hard throughout the upcoming legislative session, which opens Jan. 18, to advocate for non-contractual priorities our members want to support Hawaiʻi public education and its educators.

How you can help

In the new year, we hope you will consider running for open HSTA positions and help shape what the “new normal” will look like for HSTA and for Hawaiʻi public education. We especially look to members who are Native Hawaiian and/or Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) to get involved so that HSTA’s leadership more closely reflects Hawaiʻi’s total ethnic minority percentage based on the 2020 Hawaiʻi census.

Open positions include chapter officer positions and delegate roles for two upcoming events: the National Education Association’s annual Representative Assembly in Orlando, Florida, this summer, and HSTA’s annual State Convention, which takes place April 22 at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center. We also encourage you to attend HSTA’s Social Justice Summit in Honolulu on April 23. These events are a great way to deepen your involvement in issues that matter.

We wish you a wonderful holiday season and look forward to achieving even more victories together for our schools, keiki, and colleagues in the coming year.

With much aloha and gratitude,

Osa Tui, Jr.
HSTA President

Logan Okita
HSTA Vice President

Lisa Morrison
HSTA Secretary-Treasurer

Aaron Kubo
HSTA NEA Director