The labor contract for thousands of Hawaii public school teachers expires Thursday, but the Hawaii Department of Education says it has not reached a new agreement with the teachers union.

In a statement Friday, DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said the department has “held numerous negotiation sessions with (the Hawaii State Teachers Association) and made considerable progress on many issues.”

Matayoshi said the department has put forward its “last, best and final offer,” which includes a combination of salary cuts and unpaid leave on non-instructional days to achieve a 5-percent labor savings.

The HSTA is the state’s fourth-largest union with 12,700 members.

She noted the offer includes:

  • 1.5 percent reduction in teachers’ salary schedule and acceptance of leave without pay on certain non-instructional days for a total temporary wage reduction equivalent to 5 percent;
  • 50-50 split of employer/employee contributions for health benefits; and
  • Increased preparation time for teachers

“The Hawaii State Board of Education and Department of Education remain committed to our promise to students, families, and teachers across the state — no reduction in student instructional days and continued support of our teachers in their vital role in student achievement,” Matayoshi said in a statement.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie released a statement saying, “I hope teachers will be given the opportunity to vote on the proposal so we all can move the focus to preparing for the new school year and giving our children the best possible education.”

The state’s operating budget for fiscal year 2012, which Abercrombie signed into law Thursday, assumes 5-percent labor savings across the state’s public union workforce, matching the pay cuts agreed to by most members of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, the state’s largest union. In addition to the HSTA, members of the United Public Workers union have yet to ratify a new contract.

The state budget assumes a total of $88.2 million in labor savings in each of the next two fiscal years. The budget also only appropriates enough money to cover a 50-50 split of health care costs for public workers.

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