Furloughs Bedevil Hawaii Lawmakers
| Hawaii | Faced with a $142.6 million hole in the education budget for the 2011 fiscal year, which prompted the state to declare 17 furlough days for both the current and upcoming school year, educators and officials in Hawaii are struggling to find solutions to restore the lost instructional time.
|Gov. Linda Lingle|
Legislators passed a bill that would pull $67 million from the state’s Hurricane Relief Fund to eliminate the 17 furlough days scheduled for the 2010-11 school year, but Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, must sign the bill into law before the money can be released.
Gov. Lingle has indicated that she would agree to release $57 million from the relief fund to ease the use of furlough days. Schools would need to decide which essential employees could come back during the furlough days.
The bill did nothing to restore the remaining three out of the original 17 furlough days in the 2009-10 school year, although Gov. Lingle has encouraged teachers to work voluntarily on the scheduled furlough days, something that the Hawaii State Teachers Association says is a violation of teachers’ contracts.
The governor has until July 6 to sign or veto the bill, or it will become law without her signature.
Separately, meanwhile, Interim Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi took over Hawaii's single statewide school district in January after former state schools chief Patricia Hamamoto announced her retirement Dec. 31, 22 months before her contract was scheduled to end.
Vol. 29, Issue 31, Page 28