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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Furlough deal will be on table today

Advertiser Staff

Gov. Linda Lingle's aides will meet with education officials this morning regarding a tentative agreement between the state Department of Education and the Hawaii State Teachers Association to end furloughs for the current school year.

Lingle had originally rejected the agreement that would have used $35 million from the state's rainy day emergency fund. But after a meeting between school officials and Lingle's aides last week, the Lingle administration said it would further examine the details of the plan.

The meeting will be held at the Queen Lili'uokalani Building on Miller Street at 11 a.m., Board of Education spokesman Alex Da Silva said.

Under the agreement, $35 million from the state rainy day fund would restore five furlough days. Under the original plan, teacher planning days on Jan. 4 and May 27 would be converted to teaching days, restoring two more classroom days for students. The school year for students would end three days early on May 21, leaving the week beginning May 24 as a furlough week for teachers.

Thus, seven of the 10 remaining furlough days for the 2009-2010 school year would be restored.

The plan, however, does not address next year's 17 furlough school days.

Because the Jan. 4 planning day has passed, HSTA President Wil Okabe said the union would now have to renegotiate the plan.

At a news conference on Monday, BOE Chairman Garrett Toguchi said if the governor approves of the plan, DOE and BOE negotiators would work with the union to determine additional planning days to make the agreement work.