Governor, union, education officials sign teachers contract
Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, Hawaii State Teachers Association President Wil Okabe, and other members of the state and HSTA negotiating teams signed a four-year agreement Thursday for a new teachers contract.
The execution of the contract followed last night’s ratification of the contract by HSTA's membership of the state’s public school teachers.
"This is a milestone for education in Hawaii – for our teachers, our students and their families," Abercrombie said. "This contract provides opportunities for annual pay increases that are long overdue after years of sacrifice from teachers and other public employees. These shared sacrifices allowed us to administer the state in a fiscally sound manner and avoid layoffs to balance the budget. With the improving economic projections by the Council of Revenue, we were able to offer a comprehensive and favorable contract."
"The new contract supports teachers in a way that allows a collective focus in our efforts towards supporting student achievement and meeting our strategic goals to transform public education in Hawaii," Superintendent Matayoshi said. "Teachers are critically important because they are the frontline to our students. The contract provides for professional development to support teachers’ work and opportunities to recognize excellence and teachers’ contribution towards student growth."
"We are appreciative and proud of the cooperation and commitment of our teachers," said Don Horner, chair of the Hawaii Board of Education. "Our job now is to honor that commitment by ensuring that the evaluation process is fair and leads to professional development and student achievement. Teachers and the HSTA are key partners in the important endeavor for our children and our state."
The four-year contract provides for:
- annual pay increases for teachers rated as effective;
- new performance evaluation that considers both teachers’ professional practice and teachers’ contribution to student learning and growth in determining a teachers’ rating of effectiveness;
- more rigorous probation for new teachers and a professional recognition when beginning teachers complete their performance-based probation; and
- additional hours of training and professional support for teachers.
As part of the agreement, HSTA agreed to the state’s terms for the 2011-2013 contract period and to withdraw the teachers union’s complaint at the Hawaii Labor Relations Board regarding that contract. More information about the contract is available on the Hawaii Department of Education website at doe.k12.hi.us.
The next step in the process is for the state Legislature to fund the agreement as part of the state's biennium budget. Gov. Abercrombie transmitted a message to the Legislature on Thursday requesting that the contract be funded.
"On behalf of myself, Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, and Board of Education Chairman Don Horner, we extend our sincere appreciation to Hawaii’s teachers for their dedication, sacrifices and professionalism in the classroom," Abercrombie said. "We are also grateful to the negotiating teams and to Carol Catanzariti of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services, who mediated the negotiations to reach the March 25 agreement."
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