Gov. Linda Lingle on Sunday asked teachers to return to their classrooms without pay for the remainder of this school year’s Furlough Fridays, calling for “a gesture to heal our community.”

Lawmakers will vote on Wednesday on whether to release $67 million to end furlough days.

Because the funds wouldn’t be released until July and therefore won’t apply to this school year, Lingle said she would only release $57.2 million, to cover 11 furlough days next school year. The teachers had already agreed to give up planning days to restore six instruction days. Those days, in addition to the 11 days Lingle offered to release funds for, would restore all 17 furlough days originally slated for the 2010-2011 school year.

Her plan rests on asking the teachers to return to work without pay this year. Is that a reasonable request?

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