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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 5, 2010

Lingle aide, BOE chair meet, share data

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

A representative from Gov. Linda Lingle's administration met briefly yesterday with state education officials in an effort to resolve the ongoing furlough of Hawai'i public school teachers.

Linda Smith, the governor's senior policy adviser, met for about an hour with Board of Education Chairman Garrett Toguchi and Department of Education officials in what was characterized as a "working session." The meeting involved the "employers" of the teachers and did not include the Hawaii State Teachers Association.

"We just shared information and it's a continuing, ongoing effort to work out something to bring students back this year and next year," Toguchi said. "This is just a working session with the governor's staff and the board and the department staff to see how we can best continue our negotiation process."

Today is the 12th of 17 scheduled furlough Fridays this school year. Another 17 furlough days are planned for the 2010-11 school year.

Smith said after yesterday's meeting that she also believed the parties can reach an agreement.

"Good, positive. We want to work this out together," Smith said.

The HSTA and education officials in December agreed to cut seven furlough days using $35 million from the state's "rainy-day" fund, leaving the 17 furlough days in the 2010-2011 school year. Lingle, however, rejected the plan and proposed to cancel 24 furlough days this school year and next using $50 million from the fund.