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Teachers union rejects elections results

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  • “Our initiative is to have all children provided with a free pre-kindergarten education with a qualified teacher,” said Wil Okabe.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association has rejected the results of ballots cast for a new union president and other state officers, and says it will redo the elections.

Some teachers have said privately that the union is tossing the results because it is unpleased with the outcome. A spokeswoman for the union did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday.

In a brief memo to the union’s 13,500 members Saturday night, Executive Director Wilbert Holck said the board of directors decided to “redo elections for all races … due to irregularities in the voting process.” He said the board is working to develop a new voting process and asked teachers to “watch for details on how you can vote.”

Campbell High School teacher Corey Rosenlee, who has been an outspoken advocate for improving teaching conditions, ran for president against current HSTA Vice President Joan Lewis, a Kapolei High teacher. The winner is to replace outgoing President Wil Okabe.

Rosenlee campaigned alongside King Kamehameha III Elementary teacher Justin Hughey and Mililani High teacher Amy Perusso (for vice president and secretary-treasurer, respectively) on a platform that promised “fair” pay for teachers and elimination of the controversial evaluations that tie student test scores to high-stakes personnel decisions, including raises and termination.

Lewis, who the union appointed teacher-lobbyist during this year’s legislative session, ran with Kohala High teacher Colleen Pasco as her vice president running mate and Osa Tui Jr., registrar at McKinley High, as secretary-treasurer. The group touted collaboration and a “record of proven leadership.”

Konawaena High teacher Paul Daugherty was a third solo candidate for vice president.

Teachers voted electronically and by mail for two weeks in April. Under union rules, election results have to be certified by the HSTA board before being published. 

In an unusual move, the union had announced in early May that it would postpone certifying election results for all races until its May 16 board meeting, because none of the vice presidential candidates received a majority of votes (50 percent, plus one), forcing a run-off election for the top vote-getters, Hughey and Pasco.

The run-off election was held — by mail-in ballot only — for two weeks through Friday.

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