LT. GOVERNOR DUKE AIONA CALLS FOR END TO TEACHER FURLOUGHS
HONOLULU – Lt. Governor Duke Aiona today issued the following statement:
“I have been talking with parents across the state about solving the teacher furlough issue, and it is clear that they want a quick resolution to this festering problem.
“On Tuesday, I met with leaders of the parent group Hawai`i Education Matters, and they presented a tentative plan to me as well as the HSTA that I carefully reviewed and endorsed.
“Their plan, at that time, acknowledged what Governor Linda Lingle, State Legislators, others in the community and I recognize - that the remaining four furlough days this school year are unlikely to be restored. Our efforts should be focused on ending Furlough Fridays next school year.
“Their proposal had three main points. One, the State would provide up to $55 million to return teachers and other personnel to school on nine Furlough Fridays. Two, HSTA leaders would allow children to return to class on six non-instructional days, which they have previously indicated they’re willing to do. And three, parents would accept two total furlough days over the course of the next school year.
“In Hawai`i, we solve problems best by asking everyone to bring something to the table, and this version of their plan would do just that. Parents, teachers and the State would each give something to achieve a comprehensive solution within our fiscal constraints to return students to the classroom.
“In addition, I would recommend that each school be given the flexibility to determine which staff members are necessary to return on furlough days to open and operate the school.
“Instead of pursuing the plan we discussed, the group chose instead to announce a different plan on Friday that I cannot support because it would leave the furlough situation unresolved and incomplete.
“I don’t fault them for their decision. In fact, I commend these parents for their efforts. I believe they’re trying their best to deal with a difficult situation.
“Like most of our parents, I believe the number of furlough days currently planned for our students is unacceptable, and we must all work together to move beyond the rhetoric and get our students back to the classroom.
“Any solution will require the involvement of the Governor, the State Legislature, the BOE, and the HSTA. None of them can solve this issue alone, and all must – and still can – work together to get it done before the Legislature adjourns.”