Several thousand public school teachers packed the grounds of the state Capitol on Monday as part of a rally calling on the governor and lawmakers to increase funding for public schools and raise teacher salaries.
The Hawaii State Teachers Association, which organized the event, is in negotiations with the state for a new labor contract for its 13,500 members. The union also is lobbying for legislation that would allow the state to tap into property taxes to help finance public schools.
An estimated 5,000 teachers (the union said 6,000 rallied, while state Capitol security estimated 4,000) marched from the Neal Blaisdell Center to the Capitol while chanting and carrying signs and posters. One sign read, “Overworked, Underpaid &Under Appreciated.” Another said, “You can’t put students first if you put teachers last.”
There was no school Monday for Oahu students because it was Teacher Institute Day.