HONOLULU (KHON2) — The state announced pay raises and bonuses for teachers months ago after lawmakers approved $170 million to fund it. But teachers said it hasn’t happened, leaving many of them wondering what’s going on.
According to the teachers union, nearly 9,000 teachers are eligible to get a bump in pay after the governor approved the proposal in July. Depending on how long they’ve been working for the state, they can get an extra $7,000 to $26,000 a year. It was designed to keep veteran teachers in the classroom by eliminating a problem called salary compression.
Check out more news from around Hawaii
“It was a really fantastic feeling. I’m gonna say it’s almost like as good as seeing a student get a full-ride scholarship to a really good school,” said Ashley Olson, a teacher at Lahainaluna High School.
That fantastic feeling is waning. Teachers have been waiting and they still don’t know when it will happen.
“I’m not gonna lie, it’s frustrating that, you know, the budget was signed in July and we’re now staring at October in the face. Yeah, of course, it’s frustrating that we haven’t actually seen those financial improvements,” said Olson.
“I know that there are teachers who stayed on to teach again this year just because they knew they were going to be getting pay raises and now that it hasn’t happened yet I see the frustration and I share that frustration with them,” said Rep. Jeanne Kapela, vice-chair of the House Education Committee.
Rep. Kapela said part of the delay was because the Department of Education had used the wrong data when calculating the pay raises.
“So they re-calculated the numbers and they have said that those numbers are coming out this month or the beginning of October,” Kapela said. “So hopefully, after we get those new numbers adjusted, we’ll be able to ensure that teachers get that raise.”
The union also points out that implementing the pay raises has to be approved by the Office of Collective Bargaining, the Budget and Finance Department, and then by the Board of Education. The proposed raises are retroactive so teachers will get the full year’s raise when it’s actually implemented. For teachers, the sooner the better.
“I’m not gonna lie, it would be really nice to have a few extra dollars a month to not feel that pinch so much,” said Olson.
Get Hawaii’s latest morning news delivered to your inbox, sign up for News 2 You
KHON2 has reached out to the DOE and there’s been no response.