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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hawaii teacher furloughs are over; Lingle announces four-part plan

Advertiser Staff

Gov. Linda Lingle said today that the state would end teacher furloughs next school year through $57 million from the state's hurricane relief fund and an agreement by teachers to convert six of their planning days to classroom instruction.

Lingle will also divert $2.2 million in federal stimulus money to help charter schools. Local banks, meanwhile, will provide a $10 million line of credit in case the state money Lingle releases is not enough to eliminate all 17 furlough days next school year.

"The bottom line is the furloughs are over," Lingle said at a news conference at the state Capitol.

The state Legislature approved a bill setting aside up to $67 million from the hurricane relief fund to reduce furlough days.

Lingle, however, said she would only release $57.2 million of the money. The governor and the Hawaii State Teachers Association disagree on how many school employees need to be in school to restore classroom instruction.

Lingle and educators had agreed to 17 furlough days this school year and 17 furloughs next school year to help with the state's budget deficit.

Schools were closed on 17 furlough Fridays this school year as the governor, educators and state lawmakers negotiated a resolution to what had become an embarrassment to the state.