The state administration and Department of Education are negotiations with public unions including the Hawaii State Teachers Association.

The HSTA, which represents all 12,700 teachers in the state, has a contract that expires June 30, 2011.

On Friday, DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said despite numerous negotiation sessions with HSTA and “considerable progress on many issues,” the state has been unable to reach an agreement with the teachers union.

“With the 2011-12 school year fast approaching, the DOE is moving forward to implement our last, best, and final offer, effective July 1, 2011,” Matayoshi said.

According to Matayoshi, the key elements of the state’s “last, best, and final offer” include:

– “1.5 percent reduction in the 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 percent employer/employee contribution for health benefits; and
– “Increased preparation time for teachers.”

Gov.Neil Abercrombie said from the beginning, his administration has made it known that the statecan live within its fiscal constraints “if all public employees make a shared sacrifice of a 5 percent pay reduction and equal employer-employee contributions for health care benefits.”

“Our last, best and final offer to the Hawai’i State Teachers Association meets those targets while maintaining instructional time for students. 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,” Abercrombie said Friday.

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.

Mayor Carlisle High on Rail Money

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle said Friday that the Federal Transit Administration awarded Honolulu the full $55 million that President Barack Obama requested for the state.

“This is excellent news and a testament to the strength of Honolulu’s rail project. The fact that, in a climate of cutbacks, Honolulu’s project was able to get the full $55 million speaks volumes about the federal support for this project. This is a major achievement and positions us well for future funding requests—and we are grateful to Hawaii’s Congressional delegation for their support.

“These federal funds move us closer to achieving our goal of providing a transportation alternative to our congested roads and highways. This will also allow us to plan for a better future and enhance the quality of life for our residents for decades to come. This is great news for Honolulu.”

There is a lawsuit pending against the city and FTA over the approvals issued so far for the $5.3 billion rail project. Several prominent community leaders, politicians and environmental groups have united to oppose the 20-mile elevated steel on steel rail project.

Another Print Newspaper Goes Exclusively Online

Newspapers around the country are giving up their print editions and publishing exclusively online.

Hawaii Hispanic News has followed suit, according to an announcement last Saturday evening on the Ray Cruz’s Sabor Tropicale public radio show. The paper is published monthly but now will be published here http://www.hawaiihispanicnews.org/.

A Hawaii Reporter reader, who gave us the tip, had this to say: “I think this is quite telling of the long-standing demise of the publication industry, especially given the following  quote from a recent Star-Advertiser Census story: “Hawaii’s Hispanic-Latino population grew nearly 38 percent to 120,842 last year from 87,699 in 2000.”

http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/hawaiinews/20110519_Hawaii_is_older_more_racially_mixed_census_shows.html

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Hawaii Reporter is an award-winning, independent Hawaii-based news and opinion journal founded in 2001 and launched in February 2002. The journal's staff have won a number of top awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including the top investigative news reporting awards, business reporting awards, government reporting awards, and online news reporting awards. Hawaii Reporter has a weekly television news show, News Behind the News, which airs on Mondays at 1:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.