Honolulu, Hawaii


RE: S.B. No. 114




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirtieth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2019

State of Hawaii




Your Committees on Housing and Education, to which was referred S.B. No. 114 entitled:




beg leave to report as follows:


The purpose and intent of this measure is to improve teacher recruitment and retention by establishing a teacher home assistance program to provide housing vouchers to full-time teachers at hard-to-fill schools and whose household income does not exceed eighty percent of the area median income.


Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Education, State Public Charter School Commission, Special Education Advisory Council, Hawaii State Teachers Association, Democratic Party of Hawaii Education Caucus, Oahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, and five individuals. Your Committees received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation.


Your Committees find that Hawaii continues to suffer from a shortage of qualified teachers. For the 2018-2019 school year, the State saw 1,029 vacancies, up from 1,011 in the 2017-2018 school year, and 920 in the 2016-2017 school year. Your Committees further find that teacher resignations have increased from 850 in the 2016-2017 school year to 1,114 in the 2018-2019 school year, with only 294 due to retirement. Teacher attrition is worse in high-poverty areas of the State. Your Committees additionally find that 18 out of 19 special education teachers hired in the Nanakuli-Waianae Complex Area did not have a special education license.


Your Committees find that financial incentives are a key strategy for the recruitment and retention of teachers, particularly due to teacher salaries in Hawaii trailing behind teacher salaries across the nation when adjusted for cost of living. In addition to a teacher shortage, Hawaii is facing a severe housing shortage, further exacerbating the teacher shortage. Your Committees further find that housing subsidy vouchers can be a tool to increase the Department of Education's teacher retention, especially in hard-to-fill geographic areas by taking some of the financial burden off of teachers and allowing qualified teachers to remain in Hawaii.


Your Committees acknowledge that neither the Department of Education nor the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation has experience in administering a voucher program. As such, your Committees request that the Department of Education and Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation work with the Hawaii Public Housing Authority in establishing and administering a housing voucher program to provide vouchers to eligible teachers.


As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Housing and Education that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 114 and recommend that it pass Second Reading and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Housing and Education,