STATE OF HAWAII
BOARD OF EDUCATION
HUMAN RESOURCES COMMITTEE
Queen Liliuokalani Building
1390 Miller Street, Room 404
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Tuesday, January, 19, 2016
Brian De Lima, Chairperson
Hubert Minn, Vice Chairperson
Lance Mizumoto ex officio
Grant Chun ex officio
Barbara Krieg, Assistant Superintendent, Office of Human Resources
Suzanne Mulcahy, Assistant Superintendent, Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Student Support
Debra Farmer, Education Specialist, Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Student Support
Alison Kunishige, Executive Director
Kenyon Tam, Board Analyst
I. Call to Order
The Human Resources Committee (“Committee”) meeting was called to order by Committee Chairperson Brian De Lima at 11:58 p.m.
II. Public Testimony on Board of Education (“Board”) Agenda Items
Committee Chairperson De Lima called for public testimony. The following people provided oral testimony.
Written testimony was also received and provided to the Committee Members. The following is a listing of the people that submitted written testimony before the testimony deadline.
|Irene Puuohau||Hawaii Government Employees Association||IV. B. Department Directed Leave and Leave Pending Investigation||Comment |
|Justin Hughey||Hawaii State Teachers Association||IV. D. “Return to SPED” bonuses|
IV. E. Staffing allocation for special education positions
|Vanessa Ott||Public||IV. A. 2015-2016 Office of Human Resources|
|Susan Rocco ||Special Education Advisory Council|| IV. A. 2015-2016 Office of Human Resources|
|Martha Guinan||Special Education Advisory Council||IV. A. 2015-2016 Office of Human Resources|
Irene Puuohau, Assistant for Collective Bargaining, Hawaii Government Employees Association (“HGEA”), testified on Department Directed Leave and Leaves Pending Investigation. Puuohau stated that the Department of Education (“Department”) is doing what it can, but HGEA has noticed an increase in complaints about the Board and Department. The union is always at a disadvantage because employees must choose to engage with unions and employers have all of the information. Often times, the union does not receive information requested.
Committee Chairperson Brian De Lima stated that he would appreciate receiving Puuohau’s testimony in writing. Her passion indicates that there is a problem that needs to be reviewed, monitored, and resolved. Providing documentation will help to start the process.
Committee Vice Chairperson Hubert Minn asked if Puuohau would be available for discussion in executive session, and she answered affirmatively.
Justin Hughey, Vice President, Hawaii State Teachers Association, first spoke on the return to special education bonuses. Hughey stated that a teacher approached him about the bonus and encouraged him to look into it. Hughey tried to find out about the process for getting the bonus, but was unable to find a lot of information. This incentive is in the collective bargaining agreement, but people are not being informed or receiving the bonus. Second, Hughey testified to the topic of special education allocation. As a special education teacher, Hughey found out that the staffing formula changed from weighted to proportional. This was done because of the recession and without the consent of the Hawaii State Teachers Association. The old formula was weighted depending on the needs of the student, but the new formula counts all students the same. Because of this, important positions were lost, and other positions were not filled. Hughey recommended that the Department go back to a weighted formula.
Committee Member Margaret Cox expressed her concern about inclusion, and was informed that the Department is looking at a different way to staff classrooms to address issues.
Committee Vice Chairperson Minn stated that the Board has been encouraging more teacher voice at meetings and appreciated hearing from someone in the classroom.
Committee Chairperson De Lima thanked Hughey for attending the Board meeting and informed the Committee that Hughey attends Special Education Advisory Council (“SEAC”) meetings as well. Committee Chairperson De Lima invited Members to attend SEAC meetings as well for more special education information.
Vanessa Ott, member of the public, testified on the retention of Department of Education employees. Ott suggested extending the offer of bonuses to teachers that have left education for reasons other than retirement. Ott provided multiple stories regarding why teachers have left special education, including positions being eliminated, disagreement with how the program was run, and retaliation. Ott hoped that the Department would look more at retention than emergency situation bonuses.
Susan Rocco, SEAC employee, testified on special education. Rocco stated that the special education situation was urgent and there were several areas that needed improvement: (1) recruitment, which may not include all of the support that teachers need; and (2) special education retention, because teachers often do not stay in the program for more than five years. Rocco stated that special education teachers need more incentives and an adequate budget for ongoing training and supervision. Lastly, Rocco stated that she would like to discuss the high vacancy rate of educational assistants.
Committee Member Jim Williams asked Rocco if the special education shortage was an issue nationwide; she confirmed this.
III. Approval of Minutes
The Human Resources Committee’s minutes of November 17, 2015 were approved as circulated without objection (Williams/Minn).
IV. Discussion Items
A. Report on 2015-2016 Office of Human Resources Delivery Plan: Office of Human Resources goals (1) improve the quantity and quality of job applicants (2) train, retain and recognize high performing employees, and (3) restructure capacity and delivery of Office of Human Resources services
Barbara Krieg, Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources, presented the Office of Human Resources’ three priority goals, which align with the Strategic Plan: (1) improve the quantity and quality of job applicants; (2) train, retain and recognize high performing employees; and (3) restructure capacity and delivery of Office of Human Resources services.
Krieg detailed several programs that will help the office reach its first goal. The Teacher Assignment and Transfer Program online pilot will allow current teachers the opportunity to apply for different positions online. It is being piloted on Kauai and will expand to the other islands by 2017.
The Department is also working on putting recruitment of school level education officers online to make it easier for principals and complex areas superintendents to hire people and allow for easier data mining. To improve teacher recruitment, vacancies are being looked at on the first day of school and broken down by complex area and type of teacher. Krieg stated that there is a shared concern for the recruitment and retention of special education teachers, and programs are focusing on training locals rather than getting people to relocate to Hawaii. There is a request for proposals out to see if there are any vendors interested in the contract that is currently held by Teach for America. There are four mainland recruiting trips planned for this year to increase mainland recruitment, and there will be a focus on special education staff. Krieg stated that the Department is also working on strengthening relationships with the military and disseminating information about teaching opportunities. The Department has also been working on the interview and selection protocol for conducting interviews. The Department attempted to reduce the paperwork involved in the application process be more responsive to individuals in the field.
Committee Member Cox went on recruiting trips as a principal and suggested that Krieg include principals on these trips. Krieg responded that principals go on these recruiting trips, along with district education specialists.
B. Update on Committee request for information relating to Department of Education investigations (Department Directed Leave (“DDL”) and Leaves Pending Investigation (“LPI”))
Krieg reported that some of the information requested was in the customary update. The Office of Human Resources collects overview data, but it does not track what is done while employees are out on leave. Krieg requested that the Office present on detailed data beginning with January 1, 2013 to avoid going through the process of recovering older material.
Committee Vice Chairperson Minn stated that teachers are critical in classrooms and principals generally know who they want to hire. He asked if principals must interview applicants they know will not get the job. Krieg answered that principals must interview everyone on their list, but principals have the ability to pick who will best fit the school’s needs.
Committee Vice Chairperson Minn asked Krieg if there is a mentoring program for mainland teachers experiencing culture shock. Krieg explained that there is a mentoring program and in recent years it has become stronger and they are in the process of getting some special education teacher mentors as well. Recent data shows that the most important areas of a mentoring program were emotional support and stress reduction.
Committee Chairperson De Lima stated that knowing the categories of vacancies would be helpful so that the Committee can understand the magnitude of the shortages and identify the areas of concern. Committee Chairperson De Lima commended Krieg on an excellent presentation and stated that the Board and Department need to get the community excited about teachers and the teaching profession while making sure there are guidelines.
Krieg presented the second goal, to train, retain, and recognize high performing employees. The bulk of concern was with the Personnel Development Branch, but the majority of key vacancies have been filled with one critical position left. The Department is looking at other ways to deliver the new employee orientation besides a packet and is beginning to make information available through technology. The Department is working on training for evaluation of employees and has a road show team that travels to schools to give an overview of how the staffing and recruitment process works. The Department relies heavily on Personnel Regional Officers to make sure they have the staffing they need. If a school wants something, OHRcan use staff from the central office to service the school.
The third priority, to restructure capacity and delivery of Office of Human Resources services will rely heavily on the intranet. The Office of Human Resources reorganization has been helpful, and personnel support is better than it ever has been before. There have been intranet upgrades, including the school code in searchable form, to help drive employees to the website for resources.
Committee Member Williams asked for a list of correspondence between the Department and HGEA about the OHR reorganizationwith dates. Committee Member Williams was concerned about how long union consultation is taking but realized that there is always two sides to a story.
Committee Member Cox stated that the Department and union can do more to train people. Interviewing panels need to understand that it can follow up with questions, other than the set list. Committee Member Cox said that the union can help the Department explain things like recruitment, selection, and appointment to interviewing panels and school administrators.
Committee Chairperson De Lima stated that since Krieg began reporting to the Board, the Department has gotten closer to a manageable number of DDL/LPI cases. However, Committee Chairperson De Lima wanted to know why the same number of cases are in the decision making stage for three months. Krieg replied that there is due process, and there are multiple levels at which decisions are made.
Committee Vice Chairperson Minn understood the challenges but had asked for more specific data to see how many cases had been lost as well. Committee Vice Chairperson Minn expressed interest in the credibility of the process.
Committee Member Williams mentioned that there was the impression given that principals are being targeted, but there are no principals on the list.
Committee Chairperson De Lima suggested agendizing the topic of cases in the decision making stage for a future Committee meeting for further discussion and detail.
C. Update on Department of Education investigations (DDL and LPI): details regarding pending cases of Department of Education employees on DDL and LPI
Krieg presented that the total number of cases is the same, but the aging of cases showed improvement. Krieg reported that no case had been in the investigation stage for more than 12 months, and many cases are already in the decision making stage by six months. If it were not for the seven new cases added since November 2015, the number of cases would have decreased.
D. Update on status of “Return to SPED” bonuses for retired special education and general education teachers returning to special education
Krieg reported that 62 general education teachers have received bonuses for returning to special education. Historically, incentives are publicized on the announcements for teacher vacancies. The Department and Hawaii State Teacher Association’s (“HSTA”) joint committee Members have been working togetherto help address special education issues. HSTA has been asked to help publicize incentives. Incentives have not been publicized to retirees. Krieg stated that the possibility is small that retired employees would return to teaching special education. Krieg stated that there are a number of incentives offered, and the Department has been working on better methods of communicating them.
V. Executive Session
Committee Chairperson De Lima found the data interesting and thanked Krieg for her efforts. Committee Chairperson De Lima asked if it was possible to switch from special education to general education and later return to special education just to receive the bonus. Krieg replied that it is possible, but unlikely.
Committee Vice Chairperson Minn asked if there is a budget allocated for the bonuses. Krieg responded that there is no specific budget for the bonuses, but the Department is looking for more money.
Committee Member Patricia Halagao suggested speaking with teachers that have returned to special education to find out why they returned and to verify if the incentives influenced their return.
E. Report on and evaluation of results of 2010 staffing allocation for special education positions and resources
Suzanne Mulcahy, Assistant Superintendent, Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Student Support (“OCISS”) explained that there are three things to be aware of. First, monthly meetings for district educational specialists have become mandatory, allowing them to share best practices and work together. Second, OCISS is working closely with the Office of Human Resources. Third, Mulcahy and Deputy Superintendent are on the agenda once a month to discuss special education staffing with complex area superintendents.
Committee Member Williams asked how staffing allocations work when they are arranged by districts, and the configurations of districts differ from complex areas. Mulcahy replied that the complex area superintendents and district educational specialists in a district come together and use student data to divide district allocations.
Debra Farmer, Education Specialist, OCISS, shared the methodology used for the report. Farmer agreed that there had been confusion and misunderstanding regarding the methodology. Originally allocations were distributed using a weighted method. In 2009-2010 the Department implemented a change in the way resources were allocated because of a change in federal law (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”)). IDEA was amended to state that the funding mechanism could not be based on the setting; weighting was based on setting. The Department moved from a weighted allocation, based on setting, to a proportional allocation, based on the number of special education students. There was also a May 2012 report from WestEd that was presented to the Board, which recommended that the Department stay with the proportional method for various reasons.
The Legislature appropriates the number of positions, but districts can swap Article IV and special education teachers. In reviewing what the districts do, districts use varying methods. The Department is looking at this process to ensure more consistency between the districts. The Department is considering taking special education positions off the top, looking at trends to save additional staffing to address them and looking at the different needs of multi-track schools.
Mulcahy stated that inclusion is really difficult, but it is essential to closing the achievement gap. People do need to understand that successful inclusion may require more personnel, not less, especially Educational Assistants. She stated that she was happy to see district educational specialists visiting classrooms to see what is going on in the classrooms and address issues.
Committee Member Williams stated that he sees this as an opportunity to ask principals to voice what they think they need for special education. He thought it would be good to have an idea for future budget requests. Mulcahy replied that this is done in the majority of areas. Usually principals are always asking for more because they know what it is going to take. District educational specialists are trying to address the needs of all principals in the district.
Committee Chairperson De Lima thought that there should be a fuller discussion of this topic with the Student Achievement Committee. Committee Chairperson De Lima stated that inclusion is down to 36%, but he appreciated the Department looking at how positions are being used and would like to see the IDEA requirements for allocation.
ACTION: Motion to move into executive session to discuss appointment of the complex area superintendent for Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui complex area (Halagao/Cox). The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye.
The meeting recessed at 11:20 a.m. and reconvened at 11:31 a.m.
Committee Chairperson De Lima adjourned the meeting at 11:32 a.m.