Gov. David Ige announced Thursday that state government furloughs and layoffs are no longer necessary now that President Joe Biden has signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, also known as the COVID-19 relief bill.
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.
State Senate and House leaders have introduced bills that direct the Hawaii Department of Education to use millions in federal stimulus funding to preserve educators’ jobs, contrary to a HIDOE plan to use nearly one-third of stimulus funds bound for the education department to hire outside tutors.
The Hawaii Board of Education Thursday tabled a controversial Hawaii Department of Education proposal to use $53 million in federal pandemic stimulus funds to hire tutors for public school students as the department contemplates laying off hundreds of teachers, education assistants, and other staff.
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 Maui News employees at the newspaper are in the middle of difficult contract negotiations with Ogden Newspapers. The Wheeling, West Virginia-based corporate owner has not agreed to raise the salaries of Maui News for workers in more than a decade.