Public school teachers across the State overwhelmingly voted in support of a new four-year contract with better pay and benefits.

Osa Tui Jr., President of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, joined Wake Up 2Day to discuss the new deal.

Ninety-two percent of the nearly 7,000 valid ballots cast approved the contract that will take effect July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2027. Nearly 8% voted against the contract. For the first time since 2017, members voted in person at 31 polling sites across the state.

 A final tally will be taken on May 4 to account for outstanding absentee ballots that are being mailed in, but the remaining uncounted ballots are not enough to sway the outcome of the ratification vote.

HSTA President Osa Tui, Jr. said, “HSTA thanks bargaining unit members who came out today to ratify a new four-year contract which will help to recruit and retain teachers and give further stability for our keiki to have highly qualified teachers in their classrooms.

“Mahalo to Gov. Green, Superintendent Hayashi, and the Board of Education for sitting with us at the bargaining table for the past few months to be able to bring this agreement to our members. In addition to the improvements to compensation and working conditions we’ve been able to make through this new contract, we also send mahalo to our legislators, governor, and lieutenant governor as we make progress at the Legislature on important items such as teacher housing, public preschool, and teacher tax credits,” Tui added.

Wednesday’s ratification paves the way for state lawmakers to approve the $577 million to fund the contract before the end of the legislative session.

The Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association is the exclusive representative of 13,500 public school teachers statewide. HSTA represents and supports teachers in collective bargaining, as well as legislative and professional development issues.