Teachers rally for increase of general excise tax

Increase would generate $800 - $900 million

Published  9:39 PM HST Jan 17, 2013
Teacher protest
HONOLULU -

Teacher's stand up and speak out. The teacher's union and the state continue contract negotiations. While, dozen's rallied for more funding at the state capitol.

Teacher's are standing up and asking legislators to get them more funds by raising the general excise tax by one percentage point. The increase would generate about $800 to $900 million.

"Because we are the worst paid in the nation, teachers are constantly leaving, and we can't retain good teachers," said Corey Rosenlee, Campbell High School teacher.

Doug Roberston, a 4th grade teacher, is considering leaving Hawaii. He says it's because of the lack of contract and low pay.

"I'm a good teacher, I'm a highly qualified teacher, my kids pass the test every single year. But it makes me want to go, fine, later, I'll take my skills somewhere else," said Doug Roberston, Kaleipouu Elementary teacher.

Although the HSTA says it did not support the rally, they continued to push for teacher contract negotiations today with the state.

Part of the unions bargaining asks for a 4 percent raise for each of the years of a four year contract, and re-evaluating the teacher's pilot program.

Wil Okabe, president of HSTA, made a statement of the meeting saying "HSTA is encouraged by the State's appreciation for the teachers' feedback assessing the implementation of the pilot program of the Educator Effectiveness System."

The union said the state told HSTA that there will be a formal response made at the next bargaining session.

"We've reached that crisis point in Hawaii where we need to say finally that's enough and something needs to change," said Rosenlee.

More than 50 percent of teachers leave Hawaii every five years.

Teachers said if they do receive the funding they'll spend it not just on teacher's salaries, but also on other necessities such as buildings and classroom supplies.

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