Hawaii teachers voting on union deal to end furloughs
Thousands of public school teachers across the state are voting this afternoon to affirm a $92 million deal between their union and the state Board of Education that would end teacher furloughs.
The Hawaii State Teachers Association vote is largely symbolic, considering Gov. Linda Lingle has already said that she has no intention of releasing the money even if the deal were to be approved by lawmakers.
Lingle said the HSTA-BOE plan is too expensive because all school staff would be brought back on furlough days, while she proposes that only essential teachers should return. The HSTA insists that all Department of Education employees should return to work on restored furlough days to ensure health and safety of students and federal compliance.
Voting began around 3:30 p.m. and union officials expect that results of today's vote will not be available until after 7:30 p.m. Twenty-seven voting sites are set up at schools across the state.