Governor Josh Green, the Hawaii Department of Education, and the Hawaii State Teachers Association held a press conference this afternoon to discuss a preliminary agreement between the state and the union representing 13,500 public school teachers in Hawaii on a new four-year contract.
The contract includes salary increases in each of the next four years, changes to the salary structure and an increase in the employer’s contribution to health insurance premiums.
Green said the discussion included the cost of living for teachers and allowing teachers to live in Hawaii.
“From the start, we felt we had to pay the teachers well enough to show that we not only respected them, but respected them as well.
They can also live in Hawaii,” adding that changes to the salary structure will help retain existing teachers and hire new teachers in Hawaii.
>> Related: The State and the Teachers Syndicate reach a preliminary agreement
According to an HSTA press release, the union negotiation committee recommended the agreement to the board of directors, who voted to approve it during special meetings on Saturday, and to send it to the members of the negotiation unit for ratification. The initial contract will run from July 1 through June 30, 2027, the statement said.
“Since 2013, we have not been able to make substantive changes to our contract, so we are very grateful that we now have this opportunity,” said Osa Toy Jr., President of the Hawaii State Teachers Association. “This is the strongest contract we’ve ever had.”
Toy Jr. also echoed Green’s statement that the new contract would help recruit and retain teachers. He urged members to vote “yes” to the new agreement.
“It helps with the keiki who are in our classrooms and who will have highly qualified teachers now more than before,” he said.
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