I commend Governor Linda Lingle for advancing a proposal to reduce the number of furlough days for teachers.

Implementation of the proposal apparently requires amendment of the teachers’ collective bargaining agreement and an appropriation by the Legislature.

The former, amendment of the agreement, requires approval by the parties to the negotiations, comprised of the HSTA representing teachers, and the Governor, Board of Education, and Superintendent of Education, collectively representing the State. By law, the Legislature is not a party in negotiations.

In contrast, an appropriation requires legislative approval and, equally as important, the Governor’s commitment to allot the appropriated funds to the Department of Education.

Consequently, the proposal in effect requires the approval of the parties to the negotiations as well as the House and Senate.

As stated in my letter, dated November 6, 2009, to the parties, if they come to an agreement that requires legislation, I will do my utmost to have the House consider the proposal expeditiously.

If the parties agree relatively soon on a proposal that is ratified by the teachers and also agreeable to the House and Senate, then I will strongly recommend that the House convene in special session. I emphasize that such agreement will be a pre-condition to convening a special session.

‘Calvin Say is the Hawaii State House Speaker’

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