Teachers in the state Department of Education might be furloughed six days between January 1 and June 30 next year in the state’s efforts to address a budget shortfall of $1.4 billion over the next four years.
State DOE Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto sent a video message to the department December 10 with the announcement. She said all of the department’s 21,900 employees will be affected by the furloughs, except for those in federally funded positions or “casual hires” such as part-time teachers.
The DOE initially indicated that January 4 and February 12 will be the first two days where teachers would not report to school and would not get paid.
Kishimoto said teachers losing six days over six months is much less than the two days a month some other state workers will face as soon as January 1. This difference “take[s] into account that we lost nine instructional days” at the beginning of the school year, Kishimoto explained.
The state Board of Education noted, however, at its December 17 meeting, that the governor is not able to demand furloughs, and that the federal government’s plan to give states more economic stimulus money might make furloughs unnecessary.
The DOE already has already been impacted by a 6 percent budget cut this year and a 10 percent cut for 2021-2023. The furloughs, if they go through, will be on top of that.
Moanalua High School Principal Robin Martin said that she does not expect the furloughs to change the school’s schedule for the first two weeks back after the winter vacation. Groups A-D will still be able to rotate from January 5-15 with no disruption. After that, she said she will have to wait to see what happens at the state level.