Rep. McDermott calls on School Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi to step down.
McDermott cites lack of direction and strategic plan for new school infrastructure.
News Release from Office of Rep Bob McDermott April 26, 2016
“There has been zero guidance from the State Department of Education on where new schools are needed, and the legislators are allowed to simply carve up the Capitol Improvement Budget by political favoritism,” said McDermott. “The kids are getting a raw deal because the Superintendent is not doing her job.”
McDermott has been critical of this year’s legislature for budgeting a new High School in Kihei, Maui instead of West Oahu, where the DOE’s own data shows it is more critically needed. High growth will continue to add to the already overcrowded Campbell and Kapolei high schools while student populations on Maui are projected to decrease.
State Rep. Bob McDermott says the recent Senate Budget that included zero dollars to relieve overcrowding at Campbell, and the recent House budget that slashed Gov. Ige's request by half from $30 million to $15 million are proof that our superintendent has failed to communicate the exigent circumstances now existing on the Westside of Oahu. To compound matters, both chambers put in 38 and 37 million respectively for a new high school in Maui that is not needed and was not asked for by the governor.
Rep. McDermott contends that due to Ms. Matayoshi’s lack of transparency and forthrightness, the children of the Westside are staring at a decade of overcrowding before any new High School will be ready to occupy.
After two weeks of hammering this issue on the House Floor, meeting with the Governor’s Chief of Staff, the Gov. Ige finally released a long dormant appropriation for the design and construction of the new West Oahu High School. However, this is an empty victory as this Superintendent does not even have a site selected for the new West Oahu high school! No work can begin until they pick a site! We got it backwards…and so it goes.
“Her lack of action, lack of planning, lack of construction priorities, and lack of leadership enables politicians to put pork and pet projects ahead of true needs that are based on enrolment figures and population growth,” McDermott continues.
“She will sentence our Campbell children to a high school that is fast approaching 3,500 students. Despite the herculean efforts of teachers and administrators, all of the social ills in a school like that shall increase, gangs, fights, drug uses, alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, drops outs and suicides to name a few. “
“We have begged the DOE and Superintendent for guidance on the issue,” continued McDermott. “They have all the data and studies, but won’t even respond to our written requests to state their priorities.”
According to McDermott, “I have asked Ms. Matayoshi repeatedly what her number one priority for a new high school is and she has not provide clear guidance. She is putting the needs of politicians and their desires for political pork ahead of student centered, child based public policy. She has refused to vigorously articulate the need of the students of the Westside; she has refused to counsel against this unneeded expenditure in Maui which will handcuff the Department’s construction budget for a decade. She is more concerned about keeping Joe Souki and Roz Baker happy than keeping the parents of school children happy. “
“They have the real information and know where they need to build, but they would rather sit back and let the Legislators run amok,” said Rep. McDermott. “We need somebody who will stand up for our kids not simply lay down for the politicians.”