Hawaii teachers will see 5 percent pay cuts lifted after two years in exchange for annual evaluations and performance-based pay, if they ratify their tentative agreement with the state. They will not get their 50-percent share of health costs reduced.

Those details come from a synopsis of the major items in the deal struck last Friday between teachers and the state posted online late Wednesday evening by Hawaii State Teachers Association President Wil Okabe.

The agreement has been a long time coming, and Okabe’s letter reveals that even while lawyers battled before the state Labor Board over the infamous “last, best and final” offer that Gov. Neil Abercrombie imposed on teachers last July, further negotiations were taking place.

“An opportunity arose late last semester for us to enter into informal discussions with the state to seek a
possible resolution,” Okabe wrote.

His letter does not say whether the long-awaited agreement has anything to do with Race to the Top, but the resolution was reached shortly after the U.S. Department of Education cracked down on Hawaii for its lack of progress in meeting its education reform goals. The feds specifically called out the state for failing to negotiate a contract with teachers that included teacher evaluations and performance pay.

The union has not yet set a date for the teachers to vote, but the board and negotiation team have recommended the agreement for ratification. The six-year contract would be effective beginning last July 1 through June 30, 2017. The pay and health-care portions of the contract appear to match what was negotiated with the state’s largest public union, the Hawaii Government Employees Association, and also with the United Public Workers.

A synopsis of what they will be voting on:

  • Contract Duration: July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2017 – Six-year contract with one re-opener to discuss possible future wage increases.
  • Effective June 30, 2013, the temporary 5 percent labor cost savings shall end and salary will be restored to the 2009 level.
  • Beginning July 1, 2013, teachers shall be moved to a new teacher salary schedule (10 & 12 month) which recognizes years of DOE service.
  • Effective July 1, 2013, a new annual evaluation system will replace PEP-T, the once every five years evaluation system currently in place.
  • Effective July 1, 2013, the new salary schedule shall provide for annual step movements based on teacher’s annual overall performance evaluation.
  • Effective school year 2012-2013, a newly hired teacher shall serve six semesters of probation. Upon earning tenure status, the teacher shall be eligible for a $2,500 bonus.
  • Effective school year 2014-2015, the Employer shall pay Hawaii Teacher Standards Board (HTSB) license renewal fees.
  • Effective upon ratification, teachers employed in DOE schools (non-charter) will have placement rights in the DOE if their school converts to a charter school.
  • Effective upon ratification, maintain a 45-minute teacher preparation time and increase of paid personal leave days to six days, from five.
  • Effective upon ratification through June 2013, four days of supplementary time off.
  • No change on health premium contribution split of 50/50.

“The HSTA Board of Directors and I believe this is a good contract,” Okabe wrote to teachers. “The components and concepts are innovative and positive for our membership. Most importantly, through this Tentative Agreement, the State of Hawaii recognizes and honors teachers for their commitment to the profession.”

Read the full letter from Okabe below.

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