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Posted: Thursday, April 18th, 2013 9:06 AM HST

Hawaii teachers approve 4-year agreement

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) Hawaii's public school teachers have overwhelmingly approved a new labor agreement, their first in nearly two years since their last contract expired.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association said 70 percent of teachers voted Wednesday night nearly all in favor of the four-year deal.

Union President Wil Okabe says the goal was to provide an equitable and fair contract that will attract the best teachers.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie praised the agreement as a positive milestone for public education in the state.

The new deal restores a previous 5 percent pay cut and gives teachers a 3 percent raise on top of that in July. Teachers will get raises of 3 percent and 3.2 percent in following years.

The contract takes effect July 1.

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