With a rosier economic outlook, the state teachers union and other advocates are stepping up calls to boost teacher pay as Hawaii’s Legislature prepares to convene its annual session next week.
Gov. David Ige proposed restoring $100.2 million to the Department of Education’s base budget and adding $32.5 million to continue salary differentials to help recruit hard-to-staff teaching positions in his proposed supplemental budget.
Rep. Jeanne Kapela, vice chair of the House Education Committee, also plans to introduce two bills — one addressing so-called salary compression in which teachers are not paid according to years of experience and another proposing to remove the cap on salary classes so teachers are more incentivized to seek professional development.
“We are heading into session with a billion-dollar surplus, which makes a lot of us hopeful that we can pass legislation that supports teachers and our working families,” Kapela said. “We can absolutely afford to pay teachers more. We need to pay them what they’re worth.”