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Friday, September 16, 2022
September 16, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:01 PM :: 1828 Views

Indictments: Choy Paid $2M Bribes to Maui County Environmental Management Director

Why housing in Hawaii is expensive--Are outsiders buying up Hawaii? 

Kai Kahele: Josh Green Funders Drive Local Families out of Hawaii

As Families Flee Hawaii, DoE Schools to Lose 13.8% of Students in Next Five Years

CB: … Enrollment in Hawaii public schools declined for the third year in a row, with roughly 3,000 fewer students attending Hawaii’s 295 public schools this year than the previous year — a trend that public school officials expect will continue for years to come.

Since the start of the pandemic, enrollment in public schools has declined by 5.9%. By 2027, that number is expected to plummet another 13.8% to 148,096 students.

Enrollment is decreasing nationally because of lower birth rates. There was a noticeable drop in families having children during the great recession in the late 2000s that is now impacting elementary school enrollment, said Tammi Oyadomari-Chun, the Department of Education’s new deputy superintendent of strategy.

But outmigration is also driving the decline in Hawaii. About half of students leaving Hawaii’s public schools are moving to the mainland, Chun said….

In 2018, Hawaii was not far off from the national average when it came to the number of students chronically absent from school. In the last full year before the pandemic, 18.5% of Hawaii students missed at least 15 days of class, compared to 15.3% nationally. 

But last year, more than a third of Hawaii students were chronically absent from school. That number was 41% for elementary school students.

In the Nanakuli-Waianae Complex Area, 61% of students were chronically absent last year. … 

HTH: Missing school: Chronic absenteeism spikes across state

read … Outmigration In Hawaii Is Expected To Drive Major Declines In Public School Enrollment

UH officials expect student enrollment to continue declining

SA: … UH officials expect student enrollment to continue an overall declining trend, pulling down revenue from tuition and fees along with it. While fall semester enrollment won’t be finalized for a few more weeks, revenues for the UH tuition and fees special fund are projected to decrease by $17.5 million, or 5.1%, compared with the previous fiscal year.

Meanwhile, overall expenditures, transfers and one-time spending are increasing by $245.7 million, or 27.9%, compared with the previous fiscal year.

“This is attributable to several factors: Payroll increases associated with collective bargaining, increased on-campus activity as the effects of the pandemic wane, and the expiration of federal coronavirus response funds that were used to offset revenue losses,” Young wrote….

read … University of Hawaii operating budget into $15 million deficit

DHHL Use $600M in 3 Years?--‘There’s No Way’

SA: …  The clock has started ticking on what is sure to be the most daunting challenge faced by the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands: The agency must get the historic $600 million outlay in state funds attached to projects addressing the persistent homesteading backlog for its trust beneficiaries….

The deadline for encumbering the funds, under the legislation Gov. David Ige signed into law last session, is three years, which in governmental terms is the blink of an eye. If the money isn’t in position by then to be spent down on specific projects, it will revert to the state’s general fund….

There is no small degree of concern among stakeholders that this effort could fail. DHHL in more recent years has shown a greater willingness to innovate in its approach to its mission: providing leases for residential, agricultural or pastoral purposes, for lessees of at least half Native Hawaiian ancestry.

But the agency has a long record of dysfunction, of projects lagging for years, of inconsistency with the way its leasing mission is handled. The waiting list accrued largely due to such lapses occurring chronically over the years.

The appointment of directors to head the agency rarely gets the priority from an incoming governor that it deserves. That really must change with the next administration, given the urgency the development agenda has gained. It would be wise to weight the selection of a director according to the nominee’s experience managing such a high-profile agenda.

Kali Watson, a former DHHL director who now heads a nonprofit affordable-housing development firm, was dubious about the prospects for change.

“I don’t think with the existing staff the department is going to be able to meet that deadline,” he said at the commission meeting. “There’s no way.” …

2019: Lyon Bribe: DHHL Releases Suspect Contract Docs

read … DHHL must meet tighter deadlines

Huge gap in Green, Aiona Hawaii gubernatorial campaign war chests

SA: … Following their primary victories, Green was heading into the race against Aiona with a war chest worth just shy of $516,000 as of the last campaign spending disclosure period of Aug. 13, which coincided with primary election day.

Aiona, by comparison, reported $5,333 in leftover campaign donations heading into the general election.

Neither Green nor Aiona had received any loans as of Aug. 13….

In the Democratic primary, Green received 158,161 votes, or an overwhelming 60.6%.

Aiona received only 37,608 votes, or 45.7% of the Republican primary votes….

Aiona said he and Hawaii Republicans are not focused on national hot-button issues that have divided Republicans, such as the latest GOP bill by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham to ban abortions across the country after 15 weeks.

“There’s no relationship between that and what we’re facing as a state,” Aiona said. “I can’t be focused on that.”

Instead, Aiona said his emphasis is on helping working families, especially with getting them into affordable housing, and addressing the military Red Hill water crisis….

read … Huge gap in Green, Aiona Hawaii gubernatorial campaign war chests

A Super PAC Backed By The Carpenters Union Behind Four Maui Council Candidates

CB: … Be Change Now is throwing its support behind three people running for the Maui County Council who, if elected, could take control away from progressives who have made up the council majority over the last four years….

Of those candidates, Be Change Now has put the most financial backing behind Nohe U‘u-Hodgins, a political newcomer who works in the construction industry and has strong family ties to the carpenters union.

U‘u-Hodgins is up against Nara Boone, who, despite having hardly any campaign money, defeated other candidates in the primary election and has joined forces with an organized group of progressives to try to win the Makawao-Haiku-Paia council seat….

This year, Be Change Now has on its website endorsed three Maui County Council candidates. They include John Pele, who’s trying to unseat Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, the Molokai representative who’s championed policies to curb overtourism, including by stopping the construction of new hotels. And in South Maui, the group endorsed Tom Cook, a general contractor who’s facing Robin Knox, an environmental scientist and small business owner….

read … Super PAC

How bad is inflation in Honolulu? New data sheds light on the rising cost of living

PBN: … Inflation has soared across the nation in 2022, causing headaches for individuals and businesses alike. Here's how much the cost of living has risen locally….

Big Q: As long-term mortgage rates top 6%, what’s your prospect for homeownership?

read … How bad is inflation in Honolulu? New data sheds light on the rising cost of living

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