The state negotiations team recently notified the Hawaii State Teachers Association that it cannot accept its latest proposal, which would cost the state more than $1 billion over four years, mostly in additional compensation and benefit expenses.
On Dec. 5, the state offered HSTA $49.2 million in pay increases, two percent annual increases for the next two years, which was rejected by HSTA's negotiating team.
The proposed increases are on top of the restoration of the temporary five percent reductions that end on June 30 and have a budgetary impact of $178.8 million over four years.
Later, the HSTA team declined the state's request to meet promptly to seek an agreement.
Last week, when negotiations resumed, the HSTA presented its first proposal in almost a year. The HSTA's four-year proposal, which it made available publicly last week via social media, was much more costly than any prior HSTA proposal.
In its proposal, HSTA seeks the following:
- Increase teachers’ base pay by 48.1 percent over the next four years.
- Delay implementation of the new Educator Effectiveness System.
- Gain veto power over development of each step of the system.
"We appreciate HSTA's proposal but it is fiscally unrealistic. It’s obvious there is more work to do to reach a resolution," said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. "Our focus remains on moving our strategic plan forward, providing the best learning environments for our teachers and students, and continuing on our path toward higher academic achievement. Recent gains are the direct result of our teachers’ dedication and commitment, and future success will require all stakeholders working together toward our common goals."
The two sides resumed negotiations on Jan. 22 in which the state negotiating team provided a detailed response to the HSTA.
The state's negotiating team consists of representatives of the Hawaii State Board of Education, Schools Superintendent and the State Office of Collective Bargaining.
"While we were pleased that HSTA finally presented a proposal, we were surprised and disappointed by its contents," stated Board of Education member Jim Williams. "We depend on and value our teaching professionals. The HSTA's proposal is not financially viable or prudent. By their actions -- delays providing a proposal, declining to make negotiations meetings a priority, making unrealistic financial demands and seeking to delay implementation of the new Educator Effectiveness System -- HSTA leaders do not appear to be moving urgently toward reaching an agreement."
HSTA President Wil Okabe responded with this statement:
"We are disheartened by the State's media comments. Our experience has been that when the State bargains in the media, we find ourselves farther apart. We will be a the bargaining impasse beginning February 1, so we believe these negotiations will be long and difficult. It comes down to what type of education system do we want, and are we willing to make the necessary investment? For the sake of our students we need to be honest on what the State is committed to."
Okabe says HSTA is analyzing the numbers the state has publicized to see whether its calculations are inflated or fair.
The state and HSTA return to negotiations on Wednesday, Jan. 30.