Budget director Kalbert Young with Gov. Neil Abercrombie
Gov. Neil Abercrombie with State Budget & Finance Director Kalbert Young (photo by Mel Ah Ching Productions)

Hawaii public school teachers, angered over lack of progress in their contract negotiations with the state, have been staging protests, running advertisements and posting disparaging videos targeting the governor this week and last.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association has also complained to the media about the lack of progress.

Today, Gov. Neil Abercrombie responded to the criticism levied against him by teachers and their union leaders.

“The state and HSTA returned to the table on Nov. 14 for what I understand were productive negotiations regarding our proposal presented to HSTA in July 2012. I was disappointed to hear HSTA characterize the meetings otherwise in the media.

“The state has repeatedly asked HSTA to return to the bargaining table. We were encouraged to once again resume negotiations.

“Following Wednesday’s session, the state immediately proposed three dates in November to resume collective bargaining negotiations; however, HSTA declined to meet in November and instead proposed meeting next month. The state team committed to meeting on the first date proposed by HSTA and is willing to meet on all available dates in order to advance negotiations.

“As always, our priorities are Hawaii’s students and teachers. Together with the Superintendent and BOE, I share the goal of achieving an agreement that reflects the importance of teachers’ contributions to student achievement.  We look forward to a positive resolution,” Abercrombie said.

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