Hawaii: Teacher Salaries Aren’t Keeping Up With Inflation, Most Need A Second Or Even A Third Job In Order To Survive

A significant number of people living in Hawaii need a second or even a third job to make ends meet. Teachers make up a significant portion of that group.

Lisa Morrison, a teacher at Maui High School, says that “over half the teachers in Hawaii have some kind of second stream of income, whether it’s passive earning through a rental or they have or a second job.”  Lisa Morrison said she generates additional money by renting out her vehicle during the tourist season and renting out a room in her house.

On the weekends, bartending and waitressing employment are common. More than 60% of teachers hold a part-time job throughout the year, not only during the summer months. “Second jobs that are not related to education actually pay more. It’s kind of sad, but lots of times people can make more as a waiter or waitress,” Morrison said.

As reported by the Hawaii State Teachers Association, teachers in the state make an average yearly salary of $70,000, which they say may seem like a lot but is not enough to sustain themselves or their families.

Beyond summer school, teachers have other choices for earning money over the break. “For substitute teachers, we don’t get paid in the summer so I find grants that are for educators to take workshops. It’s continued education and we get a stipend. I also sell skincare on the side. Many don’t know, but teachers also work retail and hotel jobs if not summer school,” said Christine Martinez, a substitute teacher in the Mililani school district.

Seven hundred seventy-one teachers resigned from the 2020–2021 school year, with 441 of those instructors moving to another state. According to Lisa Morrison, the resolution is straightforward: just increase the salaries of educators. 

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