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DOE trims 40 workers in effort to meet budget

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CORRECTION

Hawaii Government Employees Association spokeswoman Jodi Endo Chai’s first name was misspelled in a Page B4 story yesterday.

 

The state Department of Education will lay off about 40 employees as part of a push to meet $142 million in budget cuts for the coming school year.

Workers were given 90-day layoff notices last week. The layoffs were to clerical staff workers.

Interim Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi issued a memo on the layoffs and also addressed employees in a video on the Department of Education website (www.doe.k12.hi.us/news/rif).

"There is a reduction-in-force process now in effect where we unfortunately have to impact our employees, our most important resources," Matayoshi said in the video. "During these challenging times, we know that everyone will be under tremendous stress and there will be a high level of anxiety."

The layoffs are part of the department’s decision last month to eliminate 400 positions, most of which are vacant. The plan will save about $15 million.

Eliminating vacant positions is viewed as a cost-saver because, although the positions are empty, the state still would have to set aside money for them.

Matayoshi said in her memo that employees who face layoffs will get job transition help and access to counseling services.

She also noted that other employees may be affected, since more senior workers on the layoff list can bump newer employees under the reduction-in-force process.

Hawaii Government Employees Association spokeswoman Jodi Endo Chai said the union has been notified of the layoffs.

"We will be working with the DOE to ensure that the layoff procedure is followed," she said.

 

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