News Release from House Minority Leader Rep Lynn Finnegan (R-Aiea, Pearl City)
Honolulu – Thursday, April 1, 2010 "I'm very disappointed that the HSTA leadership, BOE, and DOE allow the general public, parents and classroom teachers to believe incorrect information," said Minority Leader Lynn Finnegan.
During the collective bargaining process in November 2009, the DOE submitted a list of essential and non-essential employees to the Governor's office. Governor Lingle adopted this list provided by the DOE to come up with her plan to end furlough Fridays.
"I'm hearing that teachers are under the impression that front office staff, nurses, cafeteria workers, special education assistants, janitors and security are on the non-essential employees list. This is simply not true," stated Finnegan.
Librarians were on DOE’s non-essential employee lists. The DOE decided that these positions were not critical to re-opening a school. “There was a Librarian at Kahala Elementary School who retired 3 months ago and has not been replaced yet. The Governor's plan only has Librarians out for one day out of every 15 or so days," said Finnegan.
The lists of essential and non-essential employees were based on the criteria of whether a substitute must be found to replace a person when that individual calls in sick. If a substitute is required, then a person is deemed essential; if a substitute is not required, then the school can operate without them for one day. These same criteria were used in negotiations with HSTA. “A school nurse is essential; a curriculum analyst sitting behind a desk on Punchbowl Street is not,” said Leader Finnegan.
The lists of essential and non-essential workers according to the DOE can be found at www.repfinnegan.com along with previous media releases on this subject.
Linda Smith: STATEMENT ON HSTA VOTE
The following statement is from Linda Smith, senior policy advisor to the Governor.
“It’s unfortunate that the union leaders put the teachers in a position to vote on a plan that they know will not be implemented.
“Nearly half of the teachers – 49.6 percent – either voted against the union’s plan or did not bother to vote at all. This is far from the overwhelming support the HSTA claims their plan received. What is perhaps more telling is despite heavy efforts by HSTA to get their members to vote, the turn-out was far less than the 75 percent of HSTA teachers who voted for the original furlough plan.
“Governor Lingle has offered a reasonable, $62 million plan to end all remaining furlough days and return children to the classroom. The Governor’s plan would bring back teachers as well as other essential school employees that the Department of Education has determined are needed to open the schools, feed the children, ensure their health and safety and keep the campuses clean. This includes nurses, janitors, security guards, cafeteria workers, and special education assistants, as well as classroom teachers. The list was prepared by the Department of Education, not the Governor’s office, using a simple criteria – if an employee calls in sick does a substitute need to take his or her place? If ‘yes,’ than the person is essential to operating the school.
“Nonessential Department of Education personnel include those who sit behind desks on Punchbowl Street or work in the complex area offices. The schools can operate without them for 21 days out of the next year-and-a-half.
“By adding in non-essential employees, the HSTA has inflated the cost of re-opening the schools and getting our children back in the classroom by $30 million. Bringing back employees that the DOE considers to be non-essential is unnecessary and something that we simply cannot afford.
“The Administration is prepared to continue to work with the DOE, BOE and HSTA to find an affordable way to return our children and teachers to school. It is indeed unfortunate that the HSTA says they won’t do this.”
The list of essential employees Smith refers to is attached. This list was provided by the DOE in November 2009, prior to the furlough of UPW workers. The Governor’s plan does include UPW personnel who work in the schools as essential workers.
DoE list of Essential Employees: http://repfinnegan.com/join/sites/default/files/lynnimage/Essential%20DOE.pdf
DoE list of Non-essential employees: http://repfinnegan.com/join/sites/default/files/lynnimage/Essential%20DOE.pdf