The State House and Senate have agreed to mandate disclosure of COVID-19 cases in public schools, overriding a veto by Gov. David Ige which would have kept secret the precise numbers of students and staff diagnosed with the disease, as well as the names of the schools where people were reported ill.
HB613, CD2 appropriates $29.7 million in federal COVID-19 stimulus funds for the fiscal year that starts July 1 “for the purpose of educator workforce stabilization to retain teachers; provided that moneys appropriated shall be used for a one-time stabilization payment of $2,200 for each teacher.”
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.
A bill requiring the Hawaii Department of Education to publish a weekly report naming the public schools that have COVID-19 cases among students and staff unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee Wednesday.
During a Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 briefing Wednesday, state senators pressed Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto about why more teachers aren’t allowed to telework when students are learning from home, and why educators are spending their own money for protective gear.