STATE OF HAWAII
BOARD OF EDUCATION
HUMAN RESOURCES COMMITTEE
Queen Liliuokalani Building
1390 Miller Street, Room 404
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Thursday, September 19, 2019
Committee Chairperson Takeno detailed that the committee adopted a work plan at its last meeting that tasked Committee members with reviewing Board policies, determining how existing policies support or do not support the taskforce recommendations, and recommending new or amended policies to better support the taskforce recommendations. He noted that Committee members could seek direction from the Committee or request information from the Department of Education (“Department”). He stated that the Department provided the Committee with a list of identified Board policies the Department recommends the Committee review and a list of other policies, rules, regulations, or guidelines that affect or could affect implementation of the taskforce recommendations.
Committee Chairperson Takeno stated that the Committee should discuss the Board policies identified by the Department and confirm that these are the policies the Committee would review or identify any other policies that the Department did not include.
Committee Member Bruce Voss stated that he agreed with the Department’s identification of Board policies. He noted that Committee members would need to understand how Board policies affect implementation to determine policy language adjustments. Committee Member Voss asked about the Department’s plan to provide the Committee with implementation information.
Committee Chairperson Takeno explained that Committee members would have an opportunity to ask for the Department’s procedures and guidelines regarding implementation once the Committee tasked its members with reviewing specific policies. Committee Chairperson Takeno emphasized that while implementation to enforce intent is important, words in policies need to have meaning.
Committee Member Voss stated that it would be difficult for the Committee to determine whether language adjustments are necessary unless the Committee understands how language affects implementation. Committee Chairperson Takeno stated that the Committee would need to give the Department an opportunity to provide the Committee with information regarding implementation. He stated that the Committee could discuss different review processes if Committee members are unsatisfied with the current process.
Committee Member Kenneth Uemura stated that it might be prudent for the Committee to insert language in Board policies that directs the Department to provide the Committee with implementation procedures within 30 to 60 days of policy adoption. He noted that some policies include this language while others do not and stated that the Department has not presented on implementation procedures following policy adoption in the past.
Committee Member Margaret Cox noted that Board Policy 400-3, entitled “Implementation of Board of Education Policy,” directs the Department to submit an implementation plan to the Board or Committee within 90 days of policy adoption. She detailed that the elected Board passed it to ensure implementation but she is unsure whether the Department is following it. Committee Member Cox noted that the Department might be unable to draft an implementation plan for each Board policy at this point, but the Department could report on what is occurring at the school-level. She noted that the Committee’s role is to ensure that Board policies are written in a way in which the Department is able to implement them. The Committee’s role is not to implement its own policies.
Committee Member Uemura stated that the Committee could recommend that Board policies reference Board Policy 400-3 rather than insert language regarding implementation into each policy.
Committee Chairperson Takeno agreed with Committee Member Uemura’s suggestion. He stated that the Committee could ask if the Department is in compliance with Board Policy 400-3 during the Committee’s review of Board policies and ask the Department to submit an update or summary of progress if it is not in compliance.
Committee Member Cox noted that the Department could ask for an exception if it is unable to submit an implementation plan within 90 days of policy adoption. She emphasized the importance of the Committee being aware of its own expectations and providing the Department with clear direction.
Committee Chairperson Takeno stated that the Committee could request information from the Department as it undergoes and determines how to conduct the review process. He asked if Committee members agreed with the Department’s identified Board policies, rules, regulations, and guidelines. Committee members confirmed that they did.
Committee Chairperson Takeno stated that the Committee would need to task each member with policies to review.
Committee Member Cox asked about the logistics of Committee members working with the Department and noted that it might be difficult for Committee members who live on other islands. Committee Chairperson Takeno stated that Committee members would need to determine how to coordinate work with the Department and noted that the Committee adopted this specific work plan.
Committee Chairperson Takeno stated that he has identified and selected individuals to serve on the working group. He noted that the list of identified individuals is in the Committee’s meeting materials and he may identify other individuals at a later date as needed or appropriate. Committee Chairperson Takeno detailed that the working group’s timeline includes two deadlines. By April 16, 2020, the Committee will approve all draft changes from the working group’s comprehensive report for public comment, and by May 21, 2020, the Committee will recommend effective changes that sufficiently considered public comments for Board approval.
Committee Member Uemura commented that both working groups would be reviewing the same Board policies. Committee Chairperson Uemura noted that there might be some overlap.
Committee Member Uemura suggested that the Committee remove some policies to review from the first working group if the second working group would also be reviewing these policies. Committee Vice Chairperson Barcarse explained that the first working group is reviewing these policies to ensure they support the recommendations of the Special Education Task Force and the EL Task Force 2018 summative reports while the second working group is reviewing these same policies to ensure they support teacher recruitment and retention strategies.
Committee Chairperson Takeno stated that the working groups have different timelines and would have an opportunity to review one another’s changes. He stated that thus far he has identified individuals to serve on the working group and has not determined next steps.
Committee Vice Chairperson Barcarse highlighted that the identified members are diverse, have different knowledge, and would have a variety of opinions.
V. Recommendation for Action
Covell stated that the Department is requesting the Committee approve the Department’s proposed compensation adjustments for subordinate superintendents. She emphasized the importance of compensation, particularly in Hawaii where the unemployment rate is low, and noted that salaries should align with the duties of the position. Covell detailed that 23 leadership positions do not fall under collective bargaining units, hence the Board maintains authority to determine salary adjustments. Covell stated that Board Policy 500-6, entitled “Salaries of Subordinate Superintendents,” notes that the Board shall establish a salary structure that is competitive and commensurate with the duties, responsibilities, and authorities of the respective subordinate superintendent positions. Covell described the Department as a large enterprise organization with over 22,000 full-time employees. She emphasized that acquiring and retaining top leaders is essential to achieving the mission, vision, and promise of public education.
Covell stated that the Department’s meeting materials describe its methodology and recommended adjustments and detailed that the Board previously approved the Department’s methodology. Covell highlighted that the Department reviewed guidelines, market studies, and recommended salary ranges for districts of the Department’s size. Covell detailed that CAS evaluation forms are still in draft form and the Department is updating them to reflect legislative changes and personalizing them based on the needs of each complex area. Covell detailed recent performance ratings and noted that the total cost for adjustments would be $130,290.92. Covell stated that the Department looked for, but did not find any compression issues. It did find that the entry-base salary for CASs is not competitive to attract current principals to fill vacancies. She stated that it is necessary to increase the minimum to fill positions and attract top talent. Covell stated that the Department misses the opportunity to attract 35% of principals because these principals’ salaries are higher than the minimum salary for CASs. She stated that the Department is anticipating two CAS vacancies this upcoming school year and would be able to attract high-performing applicants by raising the base. Covell stated that the Department is also requesting approval for the use of funds in an amount not to exceed $131,000 for increases and an approval of a technical adjustment to move five current CASs salaries to $145,000.
Committee Vice Chairperson Barcarse moved to (1) approve compensation adjustments for the Deputy Superintendent, Assistant Superintendents, and Complex Area Superintendents based on their performance during the 2018-2019 School Year; (2) approve the use of funds in an amount not to exceed $131,000 for increases effective July 1, 2019; and (3) approve a technical adjustment to move five current Complex Area Superintendents salaries to $145,000, as described in the Department’s memorandum dated September 19, 2019. Committee Member Payne seconded.
Ex Officio Committee Member Kawano asked the Committee to amend its motion and not approve the salary ranges. He noted that the Department’s performance evaluations show that leaders are meeting expectations, thus attracting high-performing candidates with the current salary ranges does not appear to be an issue. Ex Officio Committee Member Kawano stated that he would like to understand how amended salary ranges for the executive leadership team align with fair and equitable market pay for teachers. He expressed concern over a widening pay gap and stated that the Department did not present the Committee with a salary study that it assured the Committee it would complete. He asked the Committee to defer action on the salary ranges until the Committee is able to understand how these salaries fit with teacher pay and noted that this could promote a higher rate of teacher retention and reduce pressure on teacher recruitment.
Committee Member Uemura stated that the Committee opposed a straight four percent increase across the board in 2016 and developed a methodology that provides the Superintendent with flexibility once the Board sets the amount. He stated that he does not recall the Board approving the amount of $131,000 and stated that he would need to understand how the Department established this number. He stated that it is unclear whether the Department followed the approved methodology. Committee Member Uemura expressed concern regarding the Department’s information and stated that the Committee was tasked with ensuring that the Department’s salary structure fairly compensates individuals in a timely fashion. He stated that the Department is requesting approval of increases but not salary ranges and asked if this was an oversight. Covell stated that this was not an oversight.
Committee Member Uemura stated that the Committee’s task is to approve the salary structure and he would like more information on how the Department determined salary ranges and increases. He stated that the Committee cannot determine whether the Department is offering fair compensation without an explanation. He noted that the Committee previously asked for a market study to determine if the Department’s salaries align with salaries across the nation and has not received it as of yet. He stated that the Committee directed the Department to complete the study internally and cite its sources but the Department did not include this information in its materials. Committee Member Uemura stated that the Department’s methodology falls short because the Board did not approve the pool of money that would be divided among leadership positions. The Superintendent has a pool of money to divide based on methodology following Board-approval. He stated that he cannot determine whether the Department’s salaries are fair and competitive based on the information it provided.
Kishimoto noted that the Committee previously asked the Department to present a recommendation that would ensure high school principals would apply for vacant CAS positions. She explained that the current salary range for CAS prevents principals from applying because CAS salaries are not competitive. She stated that the Department followed the Committee and Board’s direction to review compression, determine ranges, and adjust the salaries of those below the minimum.
Committee Member Uemura asked about the Department’s determination of $145,000 as the minimum. Covell explained that the median assistant superintendent salary for the nation is $150,000 and the average principal salary for high school principals in Hawaiʻi is $147,000. Committee Member Uemura asked if the Department adjusted its ranges for cost of living. Covell explained that collective bargaining units set principal salaries, increases, and step increases. She explained that the Department factored in principal salaries as well as national averages to establish its recommendation.
Committee Member Uemura expressed concern regarding cost of living adjustments.
Committee Member Uemura stated that the Committee would need this information to make an informed decision and asked for further detail regarding the Department’s ranges. Covell stated that the Department made calculations to determine salary ranges and is satisfied with its determination. She explained that the Department adjusted its salary structure to remain consistent. She noted that the Department could leave the salary range for assistant superintendents as is. Committee Member Uemura stated that he agrees with the Department’s ranges for both assistant superintendents and CASs.
Committee Member Uemura asked if the Department would adjust its salary range to $190,000 the following year. Covell stated that the Department would need to review economic factors and performance evaluations to determine adjustments for the next year. She noted that the Department’s adjustments are not predetermined.
Committee Member Uemura asked how many CASs receive a salary at the higher end of the Department’s range.
Committee Member Voss stated that the Committee would need to review the Department’s salary study to discuss teacher salaries. He noted that he agrees that teachers need higher compensation and detailed collective bargaining agreements. He stated that he believes that the Department’s adjustments are consistent with teacher pay increases. Committee Member Voss emphasized that the increases keep the Department from capping salaries and the Department would need to increase salaries to find high-quality CASs to implement the new 2020-2030 Strategic Plan. He stated that he supports the Department’s recommendations.
Committee Member Payne emphasized the importance of leadership and stated that it has been challenging for the Department to encourage principals to apply for CAS positions. She stated that individuals will not apply for positions if salaries are not competitive. Committee Member Payne stated that the Board and Department would need to review a salary study to determine if salaries are adequate and relate to retention. She noted that the Board does not have the authority to determine salary adjustment alignment between teachers and employees who do not fall under collective bargaining units.
Committee Chairperson Takeno stated that he recognizes Ex Officio Committee Member Kawano’s concerns but there are two separate processes to determine salary adjustments for individuals who fall under collective bargaining units and for those who do not. He expressed concern that compression could occur if the Committee does not approve salary adjustments because collective bargaining units continue to negotiate pay increases and salary schedules. Committee Chairperson Takeno stated that the Department would have issues with equity if it were to give individuals additional duties and responsibilities but not increase their pay. He emphasized that the collective bargaining mechanism drives salary increases for those who fall under collective bargaining and reiterated that a compression cycle could occur if the Committee does not take action to increase salaries for employees who are excluded from collective bargaining.
Committee Member Uemura stated that the Board maintains the authority to determine the salary structure. He stated that the Committee should focus on how the Department determined its adjustments and ranges and review whether the Department’s proposal is fair and competitive. He asked about the Department’s determinations. Covell explained that the Department increased percentages based on performance ratings.
Committee Member Uemura stated that the total for performance increases is $102,000 and the average increase is 3.2%. He noted that the percentage of base salaries determine the pool and the Department decides how to allocate this pool based on performance. He detailed the intent of the Department’s methodology and recommended that the Committee approve the amount without technical adjustments.
Committee Member Payne asked about Committee Member Uemura’s proposal and noted that raising the base is a critical element in the recruitment process. Committee Member Uemura noted that $28,000 is separate from the base. He explained that it is unfair to include this amount as part of the performance evaluation. He stated that compensation is separate and the amount of $28,000 is to remain competitive.
Committee Chairperson Uemura stated that the Department should have presented its recommendations separately. He noted that the Department should have presented adjustment amounts to the salary ranges to address equity separately from compensation adjustments based on performance.
Committee Member Uemura expressed concern that the Department’s proposal is unfair to the Superintendent. Covell further detailed the Department’s methodology and percentage increases. Committee Member Uemura described how the Committee determined a methodology based on discussions from 2016 regarding the consumer price index, recruitment, and retention. He stated that the higher end of the salary range was meant to provide the Superintendent with flexibility to determine how to retain and reward executive leaders.
Covell recommended that the Department follow Committee Member Uemura’s suggestions the following year and set aside 3.2%. She stated that the Department’s calculations, determinations, and ranges are fair. Committee Member Uemura stated that pool determinations need to occur before compensation adjustments. He asked the Department to factor this into its budget and set aside 3.2% for next year.
Ex Officio Committee Member Kawano stated that the Department is not addressing issues appropriately. He stated that he would like to know the Department’s plan for teacher salaries prior to approval of salary adjustments for executive leaders. He emphasized the importance of the Department treating all employees fairly and providing all employees with market compensation. Covell stated that the Department’s study includes assistant superintendent, CAS, and teacher salaries and the Department is factoring in ratios. She noted that the Department could provide its study to the Committee. She highlighted that the Department is starting listening sessions regarding teacher pay in the next week and has asked teachers, principals, and members of the public to provide input. Covell emphasized that the Department is attempting to remain competitive and work with collective bargaining units to provide all employees with fair salaries.
Committee Member Uemura commented that the Department adjusted ranges for assistant superintendents and the deputy superintendent. He noted that the Committee should approve all adjustments to ranges in addition to the Department’s three recommendations.
ACTION: Motion to approve the Department’s recommendations to: (1) Approve compensation adjustments for the Deputy Superintendent, Assistant Superintendents, and Complex Area Superintendents based on their performance during the 2018-2019 School Year; (2) approve the use of funds in an amount not to exceed $131,000 for increases effective July 1, 2019; (3) approve a technical adjustment to move five current Complex Area Superintendents salaries to $145,000; and (4) approve salary range adjustments for the Deputy Superintendent, Assistant Superintendents, and Complex Area Superintendents, as described in the Department’s memorandum dated September 19, 2019 (Uemura/Voss). The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye.
Committee Chairperson Takeno adjourned the meeting at 10:59 a.m.