Public school teachers have the state seeing red

Published On: Mar 14 2013 06:24:12 PM HST

Public school teachers gathered at the State Capitol Thursday to press the state for a new contract.

HONOLULU -

Public school teachers rallied at the State Capitol Thursday to let the state know that they're not just standing by waiting for a contract.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association had 24 buses drop off its members at the capitol for the rally.

More than 13,000 teachers have been without a contract for the past two years after suffering 5 percent reductions.

Teachers at this rally chanted and held signs that show their frustration with Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

Both parties agreed to enter mediation earlier this month, which could end the stalemate.

The color of choice for this rally is red and HSTA President Wil Okabe said it sends a clear signal to power brokers at the capitol.

"We use that color red and it's a powerful color sending a very clear message to not only our members around the state but also trying to send a message nationwide," said Okabe.

In December, the teachers were offered a 2 percent raise, which HSTA rejected.

Then in January, the state rejected an HSTA offer of 4 percent raises for each year of a 4-year contract.

Okabe says new projections on Wednesday by the Council on Revenues shows the state can afford to give teachers a bit more.

The council expects the state to bring in about $75 million more this current fiscal year.

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