comscore Kokua Line: Do special-ed teachers get $10,000 extra? | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News | Kokua Line

Kokua Line: Do special-ed teachers get $10,000 extra?

Question: Please find out whether every special-ed teacher in Hawaii got a $10,000 bonus. Is that true?

Answer: Not quite. Special-education teachers who meet certain standards are earning more, as are teachers in other hard-to-fill positions; the biggest boost is for special ed. These pay differentials for regular public schools are in their second year. Here’s the explanation from Nanea Kalani, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Education:

“The caller is likely referring to the department’s pay differentials to increase compensation for classroom teachers in areas that have faced the most severe shortages — special education, Hawaiian Language Immersion programs, and hard-to-staff geographic locations. The differentials for teaching positions in the mentioned areas were approved by the Board of Education on Dec. 20, 2019, and were implemented beginning Jan. 7, 2020.

“Ten-month classroom teachers who meet the differential criteria receive the following annual differential in addition to their current salary:

“Special Education: $10,000

“Hard-to-Staff: $3,000 to $8,000

“Hawaiian Language Immersion: $8,000

“There are general criteria applicable to all differentials, which include being a classroom teacher in a Hawaii State Department of Education school and providing direct instruction and services to students.

“Additional criteria are applicable to specific differentials. Special education differential criteria include but are not limited to possessing a valid provisional, standard or advanced license issued by the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board with the subject area/teaching field of special education, and working as a school-level special education teacher or in a special education teacher/preschool titled position.

“Since implementation, there have been no changes to the differential amounts. The department has been able to financially sustain the differentials through the 2021-22 school year with federal COVID-19 response funds. The sustainability of the program will depend on future state appropriations and/or other financial provisions.”

For the DOE’s general salary provisions for teachers, before the differentials, see

Q: I created a Safe Travels account and uploaded my CDC card, which could not be electronically verified. That didn’t surprise me because I know a lot of these cards have to be hand-checked at the airport. But I want to double-check before the trip that my card isn’t missing required information. Is there a checklist?

A: Yes. According to the state’s COVID-19 portal,, to receive the vaccine exception to Hawaii’s quarantine, an otherwise eligible traveler’s proof of COVID-19 vaccination must clearly state:

>> Traveler’s name and date of birth (which must match the name on the traveler’s Safe Travels account and their official photo ID).

>> Vaccine type (i.e., Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson).

>> Date(s) vaccination was administered.

>> Lot number(s) for each shot.

>> Vaccination site or location, which must be within the United States or its territories.

A CDC COVID-19 card is the preferred document, according to the website, although some other forms of proof are accepted.


I would like to thank James and his 80-year-old uncle for finding my wallet at Pearlridge and hand-­delivering it to my Aiea home. We live in a gated community, so James had to walk from the entrance gate, up about three blocks to my house. Uncle found it, and James made a point to personally bring it to me for fear I wouldn’t get it if he turned it in. Mahalo, James and Uncle, for your genuine acts of kindness. — Lisa D.

Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email

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