Implementation may take time, but HSTA will ensure retroactivity to July 1

Important teacher pay initiatives in the state budget are a step closer to reality.

Monday was the deadline for Gov. David Ige to indicate his intent to veto any bills passed during the 2022 legislative session. While the state budget bill (HB1600) is on the governor’s intent to veto list for line-item vetoes, the governor confirmed to the Hawaii State Teachers Association Tuesday morning that none of the teacher compensation items will be line-item vetoed. In fact, he said more money needs to be allocated toward education spending to comply with federal maintenance of effort requirements to spend the same proportion of the state budget on education compared to what the state spent several years prior to the pandemic.

The state budget takes effect July 1 and contains $164.5 million in teacher compensation line items that the HSTA has worked so hard to secure with the support of legislators and the governor.

Fixing salary compression, funding shortage differentials (for hard-to-staff geographic areas, Hawaiian immersion, and special education), and restoring 21 hours of job-embedded professional development are contained in the following lines of the state budget worksheets:

The budget worksheets, linked above, compare what the governor included in his initial budget request (under “HB1600 GM,” right column) prior to the legislative session with what was allocated by the Legislature at the end of the legislative session (under “HB1600 CD1,” left column).

While the HSTA has already had some preliminary discussions with the employer, once the budget is signed into law, your HSTA Negotiations Team will immediately begin supplemental bargaining with the employer to work out the details of getting these funds to bargaining unit members. Earlier this month, the Hawaii Board of Education approved its representative to engage in supplemental bargaining.

It’s unclear how long negotiations with the employer will take to work out reinstatement of 21 hours of job-embedded professional development as well as reaching agreement on the implementation details to fix salary compression, but the HSTA will push to ensure that any pay increases will be retroactive to the first working day of the new school year, when the funding starts.

Members have many questions about whether they qualify, how much they will receive, and when will they see higher pay in their paychecks. As soon as implementation details become available, we will immediately share them with you.

With regards to shortage differentials, the Hawaii State Department of Education issued a memo yesterday afternoon announcing the continued implementation of shortage differentials for school year 2022–2023.

There are so many people to thank for reaching this milestone. Your HSTA Government Relations Committee and HSTA Board of Directors were instrumental in making sure members’ needs could be met. Your testimony contributed to explaining the importance of these teacher pay initiatives to lawmakers, the media, and the public. Our relationships with legislators also proved to be key in this process. We send special mahalos to Senate President Ronald Kouchi and Senators Michelle Kidani and Donovan Dela Cruz, along with Speaker of the House Scott Saiki and Representatives Sylvia Luke and Justin Woodson. Finally, mahalo to Gov. David Ige, who made sure that these unprecedented funds would be available to make a difference in recruiting and retaining Hawaii’s public school educators and provide stability for our keiki who will be better able to thrive as a result.

In HSTA’s recent Question of the Week, more than two-thirds of respondents indicated that they would alter their plans to remain teaching in the next few years based upon salary compression being addressed, the continuation of shortage differentials, and/or the restoration of 21 hours of job-embedded professional development. We are grateful that these gains will make a positive difference for so many of our members.

Please take a moment to send your legislators and the governor a note of thanks for what they have done.

We look forward to your continued participation in the upcoming school year as we begin negotiations for our next contract. Thank you for standing strong as a member of HSTA.

We are HSTA!