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Sunday, January 31, 2010
Lingle: BoE/DoE delays keeping children out of classroom
By News Release @ 5:09 PM :: 3102 Views :: Energy, Environment

GOVERNOR LINGLE URGES BOE/DOE TO ACCEPT FURLOUGH PLAN TO RETURN CHILDREN TO SCHOOL

BOE/DOE Delay in Presenting Plan to Teachers Union Keeps Students Out of the Classroom

HONOLULU – Governor Linda Lingle today renewed her call for the Board of Education (BOE) and Department of Education (DOE) to accept her plan to restore the majority of the remaining teacher furlough days to immediately return Hawai‘i students to the classroom.

The Governor’s plan to use $50 million from the Rainy Day Fund to re-open schools for all but three of the remaining furlough days this semester and next school year has been stalled by the unwillingness of the BOE and DOE to agree to present the plan to the Hawai‘i State Teachers Association (HSTA).  Despite a number of meetings and communications between the Lingle-Aiona Administration and the BOE and DOE to answer their questions and provide detailed financial information on how the $50 million would sufficiently allow schools to operate on furlough days, the BOE and DOE have refused to allow the plan to move forward.

“The community has made it very clear that they want an immediate and complete solution that gets our students back into the classroom where they can continue learning,” said Governor Lingle.  “The plan we have presented, which is reasonable, generous and workable, would accomplish this by using up to $50 million from the Rainy Day Fund.

“At this point, the Board of Education and Department of Education are standing in the way of resolving the furlough issue and preventing students from returning to school,” the Governor said.  “The BOE and DOE owe parents, students, teachers and the general public an explanation on why they refuse to even present this plan to the teachers. 

“The clock is ticking. The longer the BOE and DOE stonewall, the more our students will lose out on classroom time.  In addition, the longer the BOE and DOE wait, the more likely it will be that the Rainy Day funds will be used to fill other needs in our community,” Governor Lingle added.

On Jan. 8, the Governor proposed a new plan to use $50 million from the Rainy Day Fund to return students to school for 24 of the 27 furlough days.  Since then, two furlough days (Jan. 15 and 29) have passed, keeping students and teachers out of school.

Under the Governor’s latest plan, up to $50 million from the Rainy Day Fund would be used to restore 12 furlough Fridays – five this semester and seven in the 2010-2011 school year.  An additional 12 instructional days – two this semester and 10 in the next school year – would be gained by using days when teachers are paid to be in their classrooms but do not teach students. 

The Governor’s most recent solution to resolve the furlough Friday issue and return children to school builds on her original plan offered on November 15, 2009, to end all 27 furlough days by using $50 million in Rainy Day funds to restore 12 furlough days while also converting 15 non-instructional days into classroom teaching days. By solving the furlough issue for this semester and next school year, teachers and students would be able to focus on the lessons in the classroom, rather than being distracted by drawn-out furlough negotiations.

In contrast, the HSTA/DOE/BOE have proposed using two-thirds of the $50 million offered by the Governor to restore only seven days of instruction time for the students this semester only, without addressing any furlough days for the next school year. 

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