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Friday, August 25, 2017
West Oahu Schools Underfunded? AG Responds to McDermott Suit
By News Release @ 4:33 AM :: 4082 Views :: Education K-12


News Release from Office of the Attorney General, Aug 23, 2017

HONOLULU – Today the State of Hawaii filed its answering brief in McDermott v. Mizumoto, a lawsuit filed by state legislator Bob McDermott against the State, alleging that more money should have been allocated for school facilities and infrastructure at a school in his district.

The plaintiffs, Representative McDermott (District 40 – Ewa, Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry and Iroquois Point) and his wife sued in October 2016. They claimed, among other things, that Campbell High School had inadequate facilities, and that the $35 million requested by the executive branch for upgrades to the school should have been appropriated by the state legislature. Three months later, in January 2017, circuit court judge Edwin C. Nacino dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint because it failed to allege the violation of any constitutionally protected rights and sought remedies that violated the separation of powers doctrine. The plaintiffs appealed.

The State’s answering brief to the appeal states in part:

It is ironic that a Hawai‘i Legislator – Representative Bob McDermott (with his wife, Utufaasili McDermott) – initiated this lawsuit. The catalyst for Plaintiffs’ complaint was the non-party Legislature’s appropriation of less than $35 million (in 2016) for Campbell High School facilities improvements. The appropriation of moneys from the State general fund to pay for the maintenance and improvement of Campbell High School is a legislative matter, reserved to the Legislature pursuant to the separation of powers doctrine. It is thus entirely up to the Legislature, of which Plaintiff McDermott is a voting member, to determine the amount of funding to appropriate for construction projects at Campbell High School.

The brief also notes that since the plaintiffs filed their lawsuit, they have admitted that the $35 million they wanted to be allocated for improvements at Campbell High School has now been appropriated.

The State has asked the Intermediate Court of Appeals to affirm Judge Nacino’s decision to dismiss the case. No date has yet been set for argument on the appeal.

PDF: A copy of the State’s answering brief is attached.

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