Teachers; Hawaii Educator Loan Program
Amends provisions relating to the Hawaii educator loan program and Hawaii educator loan program special fund to clarify provisions and support teacher education and retention. (SD2)
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TWENTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2002
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
relating to the hawaii educator loan program.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, a national organization with nineteen partner states, including Hawaii, is focused on improving student learning by ensuring that there is a caring, competent, and qualified teacher in every classroom.
Over the past year, with the lieutenant governor as its chairperson, the Hawaii Policy Group of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, composed of a representative group of educational stakeholders, has collaborated on research-based recommendations to improve teaching in Hawaii.
One thing was clear: Aside from home and societal factors, teacher quality is, without a question, the most influential factor in student achievement. Standards-based reform has a greater chance of success when teacher quality is addressed and given the highest priority. The legislature finds that teachers must have the resources and skills necessary to ensure that all students attain their full potential.
The major recommendations of this group encompass five key areas:
(1) Establishing and implementing standards for students and teachers;
(2) Ensuring teacher preparation and professional development;
(3) Recruiting and placing qualified teachers in all classrooms;
(4) Encouraging and rewarding teaching knowledge and skill; and
(5) Creating schools that are organized for student and teacher success.
In 2001, the Hawaii educator loan program and special fund were established to recruit college students to become educators and to ensure that these graduates teach in our public schools. One group that has expressed its support for this program and efforts in general to improve the teacher pool in Hawaii has been the students who participate in the Hawaii State Student Council (Council) and the Hawaii State Student Conference (Conference). The Council consists of students from throughout the State who come together to discuss issues of statewide importance to students in Hawaii's schools. The Conference is an annual event at which students from throughout the State convene to discuss issues of importance and to determine the group's agenda for reform efforts in education, including proposed legislation to be considered by the legislature.
These students know better than anyone in the State how crucial it is to have a well-trained local pool of teachers and understand the detrimental effects of an inadequate supply of qualified teachers. They recognize the benefits of this program, which encourages teachers to receive their education degrees here in Hawaii and remain here to teach when they graduate.
The purpose of this Act is to amend the provisions of the Hawaii educator loan program and special fund by:
(1) Reducing the loan forgiveness period from ten years to six years. The legislature finds that ten years is simply too long to expect teachers to wait for forgiveness of their educational loans;
(2) Specifying that the new six-year schedule forgives ten per cent of the loan amount each year for the first five years that the individual is employed as a full-time teacher in the Hawaii public school system and the remaining fifty per cent for the sixth year;
(3) Establishing an appropriation ceiling for the special fund and providing that moneys remaining in the fund at the end of each fiscal year shall remain in the special fund and not revert to the general fund;
(4) Authorizing the expenditure of up to five per cent of the total amount of outstanding loans for the purposes of administrative costs for the special fund;
(5) Appropriating funds in fiscal year 2002-2003 for the purposes of the loan program;
(6) Exempting the university from the public notice and public hearing requirements for adopting rules under chapter 91, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to expedite the implementation of the program; and
(7) Allowing collection agencies who enter into contracts with the University of Hawaii to collect delinquent loans from students to pass its fees on to the debtors.
SECTION 2. Section 304-20.6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsections (b) and (c) to read as follows:
"(b) There is created in the treasury of the State, the Hawaii educator loan program special fund, for the purpose of providing loans pursuant to subsection (a). All loans made under this section shall bear interest at five per cent simple interest. Repayment of principal and interest charges shall commence one year after graduation or three months after a borrower ceases to be enrolled in the state-approved teacher education program and shall be paid in periodic installments within a [
ten-year] six-year period. The university may charge late fees and all other reasonable costs for the collection of delinquent loans. [ All] The following may be deposited into the special fund: appropriations made by the legislature, private contributions, repayment of loans, including interest and payments received on account of principal [ shall be credited to the special fund.], and moneys from other sources; provided that:
(1) Appropriations made by the legislature may not exceed an amount in any fiscal year such that the total amount of moneys in the special fund exceeds $ ;
(2) Moneys on balance in the special fund at the close of each fiscal year shall remain in that fund and shall not lapse to the credit of the general fund; and
(3) An amount from the special fund not exceeding five per cent of the total amount of outstanding loans may be set by the university to be used for administrative expenses incurred in administering the special fund.
The university may adopt rules to implement the Hawaii educator loan program. The rules shall be adopted pursuant to chapter 91 but shall be exempt from the public notice and public hearing requirements.
(c) Upon a showing of proof that the individual has completed a state-approved teacher education program and is employed as a full-time teacher in the Hawaii public school system, one-tenth of the total amount of the loan and interest shall be waived for every year of the first five years, and the remaining balance shall be waived after the sixth year that a loan recipient teaches in a Hawaii public school in a hard-to-fill position as determined by the superintendent of education, including special education, regular education shortage categories, or Title 1 schools, and in one of the following capacities:
(1) As an elementary school teacher teaching in the field of elementary education who has met standards as set forth by the Hawaii teacher standards board; or
(2) As a secondary school teacher teaching in the subject area that is relevant to the loan recipient's academic major as certified by the department of education who has met standards as set forth by the Hawaii teacher standards board.
Liability for repayment of a loan shall be canceled upon the death or permanent total disability of the borrower."
SECTION 3. Section 443B-9, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:
"(b) This section shall not prohibit a collection agency from collecting, or attempting to collect, from a debtor, a commission authorized under a contract with the University of Hawaii [
pursuant to section 304-93(b)], or a contract with the department of taxation pursuant to sections 231-13 and 231-26."
SECTION 4. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $1, or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2002-2003 to be deposited into the Hawaii educator loan program special fund for the purposes of the Hawaii educator loan program.
SECTION 5. There is appropriated out of the Hawaii educator loan program special fund the sum of $1, or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2002-2003 to the University of Hawaii for the purposes of the Hawaii educator loan program.
The sum appropriated shall be expended by the University of Hawaii for the purposes of this Act.
SECTION 6. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 7. This Act shall take effect upon its approval; provided that section 4 shall take effect on July 1, 2002.