Most of the millions of dollars worth of sweeping job cuts and program reductions planned for public schools next fall will be restored, Hawaii State Department of Education officials informed the Board of Education Thursday. Board members also made shortage differential funding a priority for next school year and did not approve using federal stimulus funds to hire outside tutors.
The schools superintendent faces increasing pressure from state lawmakers to rescind budget cuts and direct federal stimulus aid to keep school employees on the payroll and maintain their current levels of pay instead of implementing pay cuts, layoffs, or hiring tutors.
The Hawaii State Department of Education’s chief financial officer told the Board of Education Thursday that the teachers' union correctly described congressional restrictions on reducing public school budgets after the state accepted hundreds of millions of dollars in federal pandemic aid.
While the governor's restoration of $123 million in school cuts is an improvement, the Hawaii Department of Education still faces roughly $140 million in cuts with hundreds of potential layoffs, the Hawaii State Teachers Association’s president said.
Congress prohibited budget cuts to public education in Hawaii in its multibillion-dollar pandemic stimulus bills, making illegal the governor and school superintendent’s plans to slash millions from public school budgets next year and lay off more than 1,000 school employees, the Hawaii State Teachers Associated revealed at a news conference Tuesday.
The Hawaii State Teachers Association strongly urges the Hawaii State Board of Education to delay approving the Hawaii State Department of Education’s stimulus funds plan. If passed, the HIDOE plan will violate recently passed federal law, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (H.R. 133), hurt relations with the state Legislature, and cause long-term, lasting damage to Hawaii’s keiki and their teachers.
We want to inform board members not only about the impacts budget reductions and proposed position cuts will have on our teachers and students, but that federal funds should not be used to hire private tutors while the state may fire more than 1,000 qualified teachers and other public school staff.
For the first time Friday, the Hawaii State Department of Education released school-by-school effects of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of budget reductions the governor has directed public schools to endure next school year, resulting in a range of 1,000 to 1,500 job losses, at least half which would affect teachers.
Living paycheck to paycheck, a Hawaii Island teacher explains how furloughs would hurt his family and many others
Nico Friedman, a teacher at Kealakehe High School on Hawaii Island, submitted public written testimony to the Hawaii State Board of Education.
The HSTA has not agreed to furloughs, and any implementation would violate our collective bargaining agreement. We are consulting with our attorneys and plan to take any legal action in the near future to challenge the HIDOE’s furlough plan.