House, Senate Bills Ensure Funding for Teachers, School Staff
Proposals direct Department of Education to use federal funding to avoid layoffs
Honolulu, Hawai'i – In response to Governor David Ige’s dangerous budget cuts to the Department of Education, Chairs of the House and Senate Education Committees have proposed two identical bills to provide essential funding for teachers and educational staff. House Bill 613 and Senate Bill 270 appropriate $104 million in federally allocated funds to offset draconian budget reductions that would result in layoffs, furloughs, and pay cuts to an estimated 1,700 state school employees due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Lawmakers are unified in their effort to ensure students have adequate educational support when they return to school. “These bills are about focusing on our students’ achievements and success to help get them back on track,” said Senator Michelle Kidani, Chair of the Senate Education Committee. “We have seen from schools’ financial plans that personnel cuts include critical staff throughout the school system, from teachers to educational assistants, counselors, cafeteria workers, and janitorial staff.”
“Legislators want to prioritize the use of federal funds to protect our keiki's future and ensure they can return to schools that are sufficiently staffed,” explained Representative Justin Woodson, Chair of the House Education Committee. “By moving these proposals and directing the Department of Education to use federal funds for staffing, we provide more certainty for the funding of our critical educational staff.”