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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, April 1, 2010

List released of Hawaii school workers needed on restored furlough days

By Loren Moreno
Advertiser Education Writer

The governor's $62 million plan to end the remaining public school furlough days would bring back teachers as well as other essential school employees including nurses and security guards, according to a list released by Gov. Linda Lingle's office.

The governor's office released lists of essential and nonessential employees under her plan after the teachers union and the state Board of Education for more than five months have claimed that many school-level employees would not return on restored furlough days.

Lingle's plan, her office said, was created based on the lists compiled by the state Department of Education, though the DOE has not confirmed the list belongs to them.

"The governor's plan would bring back teachers as well as other essential school employees that the Department of Education has determined are needed to open the schools, feed the children, ensure their health and safety and keep the campuses clean," said Linda Smith, senior policy adviser for the governor, in a written statement.

"This includes nurses, janitors, security guards, cafeteria workers, and special-education assistants, as well as classroom teachers. The list was prepared by the Department of Education, not the governor's office, using a simple criteria if an employee calls in sick does a substitute need to take his or her place? If 'yes,' than the person is essential to operating the school," she wrote.

The issue of essential versus nonessential employees was first raised in negotiations back on Nov. 25. At that time, HSTA officials, after a meeting with the governor's office, claimed that the governor's plan to retore furlough days would only call back "essential" teachers, and would not cover the salaries health aides, educational assistants, office staff, security guards or cafeteria.

Lingle's plan has changed several times since November, but union officials have said that they have never received details of the governor's proposals.