Special education, hard-to-staff, and Hawaiian language immersion teachers will receive annual boost

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (HIDOE) confirmed that shortage differentials for classroom teachers in special education, hard-to-staff locations, and Hawaiian language immersion programs will continue through SY 2024–25.

In a memo dated May 31, the HIDOE announced the continuation of differentials, ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 annually.

The eligibility criteria for differentials remain the same as those that are currently in place for this school year, the HIDOE said.

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 HIDOE 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 Hawaiʻi Teacher Standards Board (HTSB);
  • The amount of the differential will be adjusted based on the position’s full-time equivalency;
  • 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;
  • Individuals must be on a paid status and cannot be on leave without pay; and
  • Shortage differentials will be terminated if it is determined that the teacher is no longer eligible.

HSTA President Osa Tui, Jr. said, “Shortage differentials continue to serve their purpose: maintaining staff in positions that might otherwise remain unfilled. By continuing these shortage differentials, thousands of students are able to benefit from the stability of having highly qualified teachers that they can get to know and trust over time.”

Teachers are encouraged to log onto the department’s intranet website and view a list of frequently asked questions and answers here: https://bit.ly/3dx5xdo

Should you have any questions, please contact Melissa Huntley, Personnel Specialist, Teacher Recruitment Unit, at (808) 441-8437, or via email at melissa.huntley@k12.hi.us.

For 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 anela.iwane@k12.hi.us.

What about public charter school teachers?

The shortage differentials are implemented and paid for by the employer. If your position at the charter school is funded by the HIDOE, then your shortage differential will continue to be paid for by the HIDOE. Charter teachers employed by their PCS but assigned to positions funded through department-allocated special education funds include the following: Special Education Teacher, Special Education Teacher/Pre-School, or General Education/Article VI Teacher titled position. PCS teachers should check with their respective administrators if they are unsure if their positions are funded by the HIDOE.

If your charter school took advantage of the funding for the shortage differentials in 2023-2024 school year, the funding should be available in school year 2024-2025, and we anticipate your employer to continue the differentials. However, as shortage differentials are a special type of differential, in that they are implemented by the employer, not negotiated, charter teachers should check with their school director.