Hawaii’s teacher union members begin voting this week on a contract they rejected earlier this year, despite warnings from the state that the agreement is no longer valid, the Associated Press reports. Hawaii State Teachers Association members will vote electronically and via telephone from Thursday through Tuesday. Union leaders said the unusual, unprecedented effort to ask members to revisit the contract they rejected in January is an attempt to prevent the state from losing a $75 million federal grant to carry out education reforms. The U.S. Department of Education has warned the grant could be taken away because of unsatisfactory progress on promised reforms, including using student performance when evaluating teachers and determining compensation. But Gov. Neil Abercrombie had indicated that negotiating teams would need to update the agreement, which union members rejected 67 percent to 33 percent. Teachers told the union they were uncomfortable with a lack of information on the evaluation system. The union had vowed they would gather feedback from teachers for a new proposal…

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staff and wire services reports