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State, teachers reach tentative pact that raises pay

By Michael Tsai

LAST UPDATED: 9:26 p.m. HST, Mar 24, 2013

The state and the Hawaii State Teachers Association have reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year pact that provides for pay increases, restoration of previous medical coverage premium percentages, and HSTA input on teaching evaluation policies.

“This contract establishes a solid foundation for our teachers and students,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. “Bargaining was a challenging task, but Hawaii has a tradition of working together so these challenges can be resolved. As a result, the negotiating teams kept at it and we have a contract that is right and fair and just.”

The proposed contract now goes to the HSTA membership for review. The HSTA has scheduled a ratification vote for April 17.

Under the terms of the new agreement, the state will restore the 5 percent pay cut teachers took when the state imposed the current “last, best and final” contract in 2011. The restoration, plus a 3 percent step increase, would take effect in the first year of the contract; those already at the top of the HSTA pay scale would receive a $1,500 bonus.

Teachers would then receive a 3.2 percent pay increase in the second year, another 3 percent step increase in the third year (with another $1,500 bonus for top-scale employees) and a 3.2 percent increase in the final year.

Abercrombie said pay increases and other provisions of the contract are possible in part because of improved fiscal conditions.

“We have righted the fiscal ship of this state,” he said.

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