Teachers will be furloughed on average one day a month starting Jan. 4 to help cope with the state budget shortfall, Superintendent Christina Kishimoto informed public school employees late Monday.
Gov. David Ige has called for two furlough days a month for state workers, but the superintendent said in her memo that she wanted to minimize further loss of instructional time for students.
So 10-month employees of the Department of Education — including teachers, counselors, school librarians and registrars — would be furloughed an average of one day a month under her plan. Twelve-month employees, including principals and office staff, would be furloughed a total of 10 days between Jan. 1 and June 30.
The first furlough day, Jan. 4, had been scheduled as a teacher’s work day with no students on campus in any case. The second, Feb. 12, falls during the week when teachers were scheduled to have one day with no students for Teacher’s Institute Day, a date that differed by island.
Beyond February, Kishimoto’s memo projects possible furlough dates that would take effect only “if Gov. Ige determines that circumstances require continuation of the furlough.”
Those projected furlough days for 10-month employees would fall on: March 1, March 22, April 23 and June 1.
For 12-month employees, the furlough days are the same for the first two months, Jan. 4 and Feb. 12. Their projected furlough days beyond February are: March 1, March 15, March 22, April 23, June 1, June 18, June 25 and June 28.
“The department’s furlough days take into account that we lost nine instructional days at the beginning of this school year and we wanted to minimize any further loss of instruction for students,” Kishimoto wrote in the memo to employees. “Your commitment and dedication have remained unwavering throughout this pandemic, and this situation is not a reflection of all the hard work you have and continue to deliver on.”
Her memo says the governor’s authority to require furloughs is based on “the inherent and reserved rights of public employers as recognized under Hawaii law,” as well as the governor’s emergency powers.