STATEMENT BY GOVERNOR LINDA LINGLE
“My team and I are continuing to work daily to find a solution to return our children and teachers to the classroom in a way that is affordable and fair to the taxpayers of our state. I have met with the Hawai‘i State Teachers Association, Department of Education and Board of Education, including with different factions of the BOE, on a number of occasions. In addition, I have met with legislators as well as others in our community who want to see the furlough situation resolved.
“Claims by a small group of people who are currently occupying the reception area of my office that I have not been personally involved in such discussions are patently false. Occupying government offices will not create additional revenues to end the school furloughs and impedes the ability of the general public to conduct business with the state.
“Since November of last year, I have made three reasonable, and what I believe are generous offers given the current fiscal challenges, to end all teacher furlough days. Under our plan, all employees that the DOE considers essential to opening and operating schools in a safe and secure manner would be brought back. These include teachers, principals, nurses, special education assistants, janitors, security personnel, counselors, cafeteria workers and others.
“I am continuing to keep the lines of communication open with the DOE and BOE, and I strongly encourage the HSTA to reconsider its stand that it will no longer negotiate to end closing our schools for 21 more days.”