BOE leaders strongly supported them a day before the superintendent announced they would continue

Shortage differentials for classroom teachers in special education, hard-to-staff locations, and Hawaiian language immersion programs will continue through school year 2021–22, state Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto announced in a memo late Friday afternoon.

The eligibility criteria for differentials remain the same as those that are currently in place for this school year, the Hawaii State Department of Education said.

Board of Education leaders voiced strong support Thursday for continuing teacher shortage differentials next school year and the Hawaii State Department of Education is still touting them in recruitment and retention materials.

Bruce Voss, who chairs the BOE’s Finance and Infrastructure Committee, said Thursday that the budget passed by lawmakers awaiting the governor’s signature or veto did not fund “the $32.5 million teacher differential that this board approved and made clear to the superintendent that it expects to be part of the department’s ESSR (federal stimulus) funds plans consistent with prior board action.”

General criteria applicable to all shortage differentials:

  • Applicable to Bargaining Unit 5 positions, regardless of 10-month or 12-month designation;
  • Applicable to teachers in Department of Education (Department) schools, unless otherwise stated;
  • Individuals must be in classroom teaching positions that are providing direct instruction and services to students unless otherwise stated;
  • Individuals must possess the appropriate subject area(s)/teaching field(s) on a provisional, standard, or advanced license issued by the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board (HTSB);
  • The amount of the differential will be adjusted based on the position’s full-time equivalency (FTE);
  • The effective date of the differential payout will be based on when individuals obtain the appropriate subject area(s)/teaching field(s) on licenses issued by HTSB; and
  • Individuals must be on a paid status and cannot be on leave without pay.

To view a list of HIDOE’s frequently asked questions and answers, individuals are encouraged to log onto the education department’s intranet website and view the Teacher Compensation Shortage Differential – Frequently Asked Questions page at

Should you have any questions, please contact Kimberly Miyamoto, HIDOE personnel specialist, Teacher Recruitment, at (808) 441-8437, or via email at

Should you have any questions regarding the changing of position titles, please contact your respective Certificated Personnel Regional Officer.

Should you have any questions regarding being deemed fluent in the Hawaiian language, please contact Anela Iwane, Educational Specialist, Office of Hawaiian Education, at (808) 784-6070 or via email at

The differentials offer annual bonuses to teachers in shortage areas of special education, Hawaiian language immersion and to those who teach in hard-to-staff locations that are often geographically isolated. The payments have quickly and substantially reduced teacher shortages in those fields while increasing applicants to special education teacher scholarship programs at the college level.

The Board of Education reaffirmed its support for differentials in February after rejecting State Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s effort to end them last summer.