Governor Ige Vetoes Teacher Bonus
News Release from HGEA, July 06, 2021
Today Gov. David Ige announced his veto of 26 bills, including H.B. 613, which would have given every full-time and part-time teacher a $2200 bonus. The Legislature allowed the veto to stand; therefore, the $2200 bonus will not be enacted or funded.
A sincere thank you to the hundreds of members who reached out to the Governor in support of our constitutionally protected collective bargaining process
As Executive Director Randy Perreira stated in his video message last week, our objection to the teacher bonus is based on the violation of the spirit and intent of the Constitution and collective bargaining law. Any changes to your salary and conditions of employment must be negotiated and it was wrong for the Legislature to interfere with the bargaining process.
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Governor leaves open possibility of negotiating educator payments
HSTA will work with lawmakers, governor to try to make up for loss of 21 hours
News Release from HSTA, July 06, 2021
Gov. David Ige vetoed Tuesday a bill unanimously approved by state lawmakers that would have given each teacher a $2,200 workforce stabilization payment. However, Ige left open the possibility that payments could be negotiated for educators.
In his veto message for House Bill 613, Ige said, “This bill is objectionable because appropriations made in this bill do not comply with federal guidance for spending and put the state at risk of being in violation of federal rules. According to guidance issued by the United States Department of Education, state legislatures do not have the ability to limit a local education agency’s use of funds” appropriated through federal stimulus bills.
Ige has also said the state would have to negotiate any additional salary payments with teachers. Across the country, various states and school districts have used federal stimulus funds to pay stabilization payments to retain educators during and after the pandemic.
Asked during a news conference Tuesday afternoon if he’d consider negotiating such payments with HSTA and other unions, Ige said, “We are working with all the agencies and looking at appropriate actions that we would want to make. The federal guidance from the U.S. Department of Education requires that any kind of salary stabilization or salary adjustment has to be within the context of the collective bargaining agreements. And certainly we would be open to discuss any kind of adjustments with the Board of Education as well as the appropriate unions.
“We would want to ensure that all employees at schools, if we decided to do that, [would be included in the payments] as would be appropriate,” Ige added. “We have many public servants who has (sic) had to work during this pandemic and any kind of bonus would be looking at state employees in general, and looking at the conditions and the specifics of the situation about whether that would merit some kind of adjustment.”
Unfortunately, the Legislature did not take up HB613 to either amend or override Tuesday.
Hawaii State Teachers Association President Osa Tui, Jr. said, “The HSTA plans to work with legislators and the governor on what can be done to address the fact that our members will see reduced paychecks in the year ahead unlike any other bargaining unit.”
Members of Bargaining Unit 05, represented by HSTA, would be the only ones to see less take-home pay because the state was unwilling to continue funding job-embedded professional development for teachers, effectively cutting their paychecks by almost one-and-a-half percent.
The teacher stabilization payments unanimously approved by state lawmakers in HB613 would have offset those pay losses caused by the elimination of professional development, known as 21 hours, Tui said.