BY WIL OKABE – I am pleased that after more than two years of negotiating with the Employer, sometimes in contentious times, that the Employer and HSTA have come together on a contract offer that will serve Hawaii’s teachers and their students.
I believe that this tentative agreement is the beginning of providing professional salaries that will attract and retain the best and the brightest into Hawaii’s classrooms.
Hawaii’s public school teachers will see the equivalent of a 3 percent pay increase over and above the restored 5 percent cut this July. In subsequent years, teachers will see increases of 3 percent and 3.2 percent. This will do a lot to stabilize the teaching force, which we know will improve teaching and learning conditions.
Teachers will be represented at the table where decisions about the future of the educator evaluation system will be made. We want caring, committed and knowledgeable teachers in every classroom. We want an evaluation system that improves the practice of teaching that leads to improved student learning and produces real results.
It is also important to note that the Employer has committed to providing the support necessary to make the evaluation system successful.
Under the last, best and final offer presented to Hawaii’s teachers nearly two years ago, teachers had an increase in their health insurance premiums. Under this agreement, we are pleased that the Employer has made a major step towards restoring the previous insurance premium percentages.
I believe that the reason we have a tentative agreement in large part is because of the ongoing pressure teachers put on the Employer to settle the contract in the best interests of the teachers and students.
I am hopeful that HSTA members will vote to support the agreement and then we can move on to the business of working collaboratively with all the stakeholders to transform public education in Hawaii that improves student learning and produces real results.
Wil Okabe, President of the 13,500-Member Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA)