News in Brief
Hawaii Teachers Reject Contract With Pay Cut
Hawaii public school teachers voted against a six-year proposed contract last week, leaving in place a months long labor dispute with the state.
The vote was 67 percent against the contract to 33 percent for it, Wil Okabe, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, said in a posting on the group's website.
He stated that some HSTA members have suggested they pursue further negotiations, while others are calling for a strike vote. And still others want the union to continue with its legal challenges.
Under the rejected contract, teachers and other public employees would have continued to see a 5 percent pay cut.
After June 30, 2013, teachers would have moved to a new salary schedule that recognized years of service and a revised teacher-evaluation system.
The U.S. Department of Education last month admonished Hawaii for "unsatisfactory" performance in fulfilling its Race to the Top promises and put a $75 million grant under "at risk" status. This is the first time the department has placed that status on a state that won dollars distributed in the high-profile competition.
Hawaii education officials have said some reforms have been slowed by the labor dispute. The union lodged a prohibited-practice complaint, claiming the state violated members' rights by implementing its "last, best, and final" contract offer over the summer.
Earlier this month, an "agreement in principle" was announced, which includes moving to a performance-based compensation system.
The grant's status played a role in reaching the agreement.
Vol. 31, Issue 18, Page 4