Hawaii Senate Advances Bills Investing in Education

The Hawaii State Senate’s Committee on Ways and Means (WAM) today advanced bills that support Hawaii’s keiki through a variety of education initiatives. If passed, the measures would restore funds to support school athletic programs, improve the learning environment for students and invest in Hawaii charter schools.

capital

“Hawaii’s keiki are our greatest resource and it’s important that we give them every advantage for a better future,” said Senator David Ige, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. “To do that, we need to invest in every aspect of their education from academics to athletics to their learning environment.”

These measures will go to the Senate floor for third reading and if approved will move to the House for consideration.

The education measures passed today include:

SB2424 SD1: RELATING TO AIR CONDITIONING

Requires the department of education and department of accounting and general services, in consultation with the Hawaii state energy office of the department of business, economic development, and tourism and the Hawaii natural energy institute of the University of Hawaii, to develop a cooling master strategy and comprehensive study for the public schools and to report findings to the 2015 regular session of the legislature. Appropriates funds.

SB3083 SD1: RELATING TO SCHOOL ATHLETICS.

Appropriates general funds for fiscal year 2014-2015 for the school athletics program of the department of education. Authorizes additional coaching and assistant coaching positions for fiscal year 2014-2015 for the school athletics program.

SB2516 RELATING TO FACILITIES FUNDING FOR CHARTER SCHOOLS

Appropriates funds for the state public charter school commission to allocate to charter schools for facilities projects based, in part, on the need and performance of the charter schools. Requires annual reporting to the legislature.

SB2517 RELATING TO CHARTER SCHOOLS

Authorizes the state public charter school commission to request the issuance of general obligation bonds from the director of finance and to allocate the proceeds for the design, planning, construction, repair, and maintenance of public charter school facilities. Creates a working group to determine criteria for and to prioritize the allocation of general obligation bond proceeds to the public charters schools. Specifies that public charter school facilities funded through the proceeds of general obligation bonds are owned by the State. Requires the state public charter school commission to report annually to the legislature. Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds to the state public charter school commission. Repeals on June 30, 2024.

Kamehameha Schools Hawaii Middle School Band & Keiki Choir California Schedule

The Kamehameha Schools Hawai’i Middle School Band & Keiki Choir will be performing in California over the Spring Break.  Here is their schedule of public performances.
California Flier

Please feel free to forward this to your friend’s and ʻohana that live in the area. We would love to see them and I am sure they would enjoy the mele of Hawaiʻi brought to them by our Keiki.

Big Island Press Club Offering Scholarships

The Big Island Press Club (BIPC) is pleased to announce the availability of scholarships for eligible students pursuing higher education in the field of journalism or a related field.

Big Island Press Club Image

BIPC annually offers: $1,000 Bill Arballo Scholarship, $500 Yukino Fukubori Memorial Scholarship, $500 Jack Markey Memorial Scholarship, $1,500 Robert C. Miller Memorial Scholarship and the $1,000 Marcia Reynolds Scholarship. Last year, BIPC awarded a total of $4,600 to five Hawaii Island students at the annual scholarship dinner in Hilo.

Awards are determined by the BIPC Scholarship Committee to qualified applicants.

To qualify, applicants must:

  • Have residential ties to the Big Island
  • Express a clear interest in and aptitude for a career in journalism or a related field
  • Be pursuing a degree in journalism or a related field and enrolled full time at an accredited college or university
  • Maintain a strong record of academic achievement.

Application forms and instructions are available at the BIPC website: http://www.BigIslandPressClub.org <http://www.BigIslandPressClub.org> and will be available from high school counselors at Big Island public and private high schools. The deadline to apply for the 2014 scholarships is April 15; applications must be postmarked by this date.

Andrews Gymnasium Reopens

Repairs to Hilo’s Joseph G. Andrews Gymnasium have been completed, allowing the Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation to reopen the popular facility located within Waiākeawaena Park.

Photo of gym interior showing repaired and refurbished floor  Photo credit: Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation

Photo of gym interior showing repaired and refurbished floor
Photo credit: Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation

Old wax buildup was removed from the gym’s floor, which was then sanded and coated with a new layer of wax to protect the playing surface. New lines were painted to accommodate different sports, termite damage repaired and replacement basketball backboards installed. The Department of the Parks and Recreation’s Maintenance staff performed all of the work in-house.

Located at 33 West Kawailani Street, Andrews Gymnasium is open each Monday through Saturday, excluding holidays. Gym programs include the following youth activities:

  • Basketball Shooting Clinic (ages 9-14) Wednesdays 4 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Volleyball (ages 7-14) Thursdays 3:30 to 5 p.m.
  • Craft clubs (ages 5-12) Thursdays 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Speed and Agility workshops (ages 7-14) Saturdays 2 to 4 p.m.

For more information, please contact Maurice Janado at 959-9047.

Governor Abercrombie Releases $62.4 Million for Education Facilities Statewide

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $62.4 million for capital improvement projects (CIP) that will improve various Hawaii Department of Education (DOE) facilities across the state, while stimulating the economy and generating local jobs.

“These funds will help to create a better learning environment for our keiki and provide teachers with the tools they need to succeed,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “In the process, the funds will create work for hundreds in Hawaii.”

Kau High School

Allotment of funds for the following projects, identified by state legislators, has been approved by the Governor:

$36,365,000 – Improving and Maintaining Facilities and Infrastructure – Planning, design, construction and equipment to improve and maintain facilities and infrastructure for various schools statewide. DOE’s estimated backlog for repair and maintenance is at $265 million. These projects include general school building improvements, electrical upgrades and playground equipment repair, along with maintenance and other school repairs and renovations. Some of these funds will go to the overall repair project at the damaged Farrington High Auditorium.

$7,554,000 – Program Support – Planning, land, design, construction and equipment for program support at various schools statewide, including new/temporary facilities, improvements to existing facilities, ground and site improvements, and for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and gender equity. ADA projects include McKinley High, Baldwin High, Kohala Elementary and Honokaa High. Gender equity projects include Keaau High, Waiakea High and Waipahu High softball fields and Kahuku High and Intermediate girls’ athletic locker room. Funds will also complete construction of a locker room project at Lahainaluna High and complete design of a locker room at Konawaena Middle School.

$7,500,000 – Equity – Design and construction for equality projects to improve instructional spaces such as science labs, special education classroom renovations and classrooms on a statewide basis for classroom/learning environment parity. Equity projects also include energy improvements relating to heat abatement in classrooms.

$5,800,000 – Capacity – Plans, land, design, construction and equipment for capacity projects at various schools statewide nearing their enrollment capacity or are short of classroom space.

$5,200,000 – Staff Costs and Project Positions – Fiscal Year 2014 costs related to wages and fringe benefits for 60 project-funded permanent staff. The positions will provide the technical and clerical support necessary for the DOE to adequately address their CIP needs by moving its CIP project-funded staff to the vacant Liliuokalani Elementary in the near future.

Capital Improvement Funds Released for Kohala Elementary and Honoka’a High School

Senator Malama Solomon, District 4 – Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona, today commended the release of $7.73 million for various capital improvement projects (CIP) supporting student education in Hawaii.

Sen. Malama Solomon

Sen. Malama Solomon

Portions of these funds will go toward work in District 4, including:

  • Kohala Elementary, for American with Disabilities Act (ADA) projects, portion of $7,554,000
  • Kohala Elementary, for a special education portable, $80,000
  • Honoka‘a High School, for science lab upgrades, $100,000 for design work

“Supporting schools in my district is one of my main priorities as a lawmaker,” said Solomon. “The Legislature secured the funds for these very important projects last session and I’m glad to see the monies released so that work can get started. It’s imperative that we continue to provide students, teachers and staff with the resources for a favorable learning environment.”

Hawaiian Family AfFair to Honor Na Pua No`eau Alumni

Na Pua No`eau, the Center for Gifted and Talented Native Hawaiian Children, is calling on all of its former students to come and be recognized at this year’s 22nd Annual Hawaiian Family AfFair.

UH Hilo Moniker

The free, public event will be held on the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo campus on Saturday, March 1, from 9- 3 p.m. This year’s theme is “E Ola Koa: Living long and strong like a koa tree in the forest.”

Activities include various exhibit booths, free health screenings, a keiki fitness center, arts and crafts booths, make and take workshops, entertainment, food booths, and more.

More than 16,000 Native Hawaiian children from across the State and around the globe have participated in a Na Pua No`eau activity since its first event was held in 1990. The Center provides educational enrichment that guides students to learn through the Hawaiian culture.

“The best way to describe the program’s impact on students is that the students create a healthy life and lifestyle for themselves, their family and their community,” said Executive Director Dr. David Sing. “The Center helps them define and understand themselves as Hawaiians and to build a future that acknowledges and embraces who they are in the evolving world.”

Sing said the Center wants to celebrate the lives its alumni have made for themselves, their families and community. Approximately 18-percent of the native Hawaiian students currently attending UH Hilo and 17-percent attending Hawaiʻi Community College are products of the Na Pua No`eau pipeline.

For more information, call 974-7678.

Department of Education Convenes Working Group to Review “Pono Choices” – A Sexual Health Education Curriculum

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) yesterday convened a working group to review Pono Choices, a sexual health education curriculum taught in some middle schools as part of a research study by the University of Hawaii’s (UH) Center on Disability Studies.

DOE ReleaseOn Feb. 4, at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Hawaii State Board of Education (BOE), a discussion of sexual health education curriculum drew additional comments regarding Pono Choices. The BOE received more than 100 written testimonies expressing concerns over the UH pilot curriculum. As a result, the DOE convened a working group comprised of diverse stakeholders to review Pono Choices and make a recommendation on whether it meets statutory requirements and applicable BOE policies regarding sexual health education curriculum.

The group, chaired by DOE Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe, includes:

  • Darrin Araki, executive director, Hawaii Pastors Roundtable
  • Dr. Robert Bidwell, associate clinical professor of pediatrics and director of adolescent medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine, UH Manoa
  • Karen Ginoza, representative of He’e Coalition and Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE)
  • Kimberly Kepner-Sybounmy, parent representative
  • Noella Kong, state adolescent health coordinator, Hawaii State Department of Health
  • Justin Mew, principal of Kaiser High School; former principal of Niu Valley Middle School and former science teacher
  • Donna Rodenhurst, health teacher, King Intermediate School
  • Kumu Hina Wong-Kalu, director of culture, Halau Lokahi Public Charter School

The working group meets again on Feb. 27 and welcomes public input through noon on Feb. 26 via email at hipublicschools@gmail.com. All feedback will be logged and shared with group members. Individuals should not resubmit testimony already provided to the BOE.

The working group will spend as much time as necessary to conduct a thorough review of Pono Choices prior to issuing a public report.

In November, the DOE temporarily placed Pono Choices on hold to address concerns about whether the curriculum was aligned with health education state law and policy. A subsequent UH review of its copyrighted curriculum concluded Pono Choices met the standards.

Board of Education Sets Firm Support of Hawaiian Education

Today the Hawaii State Board of Education (BOE) and the Department of Education (DOE) reaffirmed its commitment to Hawaiian Education and Hawaiian Immersion programs in Hawaii’s public schools.

DOE ReleaseThe Hawaiian Education policy states “Hawaii’s public education system should embody Hawaiian values, language, culture and history as a foundation to prepare student in grades K-12 for success in college, career and communities, locally and globally.” Board policy 2104 affirms that Hawaiian language, culture, and history should be an integral part of Hawaii’s educational standards for all students in grades K-12.

BOE Chairperson Don Horner stated, “The policy strengthens our commitment to offer students the added value of a bilingual, bicultural based education. The curricula will have rigorous performance standards and be taught by a core of qualified, effective teachers. The goal is to graduate outstanding students that are highly proficient in both English and Hawaiian and are well prepared for college, career and contributors to community.”

The Board spent nearly one year working with stakeholders to craft the policy revisions. BOE Student Achievement Committee Chairperson, Cheryl Kauhane Lupenui explained that, “It was very important that stakeholders be an integral part of this process and the policies reflect the shared goals of the DOE and the community. We held more than 40 stakeholder meetings during the development process and at today’s meeting we received over 100 testimony in support of the policies.”

Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi stated, “The department looks forward to advancing Hawaiian education as an integral part of our public schools for all students.”

The state currently has 20 Hawaiian Immersion programs which includes six charter schools. The proposed amendments to BOE policy 2104 and 2105 are linked on our General Business Meeting agenda here on the BOE site.

Video: Kendama USA Hawaii Adventures – Volume 1

Recently the folks from Kendama USA came to Hawaii to put on a demonstration and show over on Oahu.  While the team was here they put together the following video:

Aloha!
Hawaii was amazing! I have never seen so many people playing Kendama in my life! 1800 people signed up to battle before we had to cut it off. 5000 people total were at the event. Choke players were there! It was great to get some time on Oahu an meet the people and the players. Hawaii is defiantly where it’s happenin. Amazing hospitality and kindness from everyone. Huge thank you to Razor Sports and Pearl Ridge Mall for their support and dedication. We will be back soon!

The Opening Hula at Today’s Kamehameha School’s Ho’olaule’a

Here is one of my son’s hula performances he performed today at the Kamehameha Schools Ho’olaule’a:

He’s in the back row if you can’t figure it out.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs Awards $1.5 Million for Charter Schools

The Board of Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) approved $1.5 million in emergency funding to seventeen Hawaiian-focused public charter schools for the 2013-2014 school year to address the budgetary shortfalls the schools have continued to face over the past five years.

The Nā Lei Na‘auao – Native Hawaiian Charter School Alliance (NLN) is truly grateful for OHA’s continued commitment to support these unique values-based models of education, that are at once ancient and modern. The schools’ successes validate NLN’s capacity to design and control the process of education dedicated to perpetuating Hawai‘i’s language, culture and traditions. The process helps the native learning communities honor the past, address the present and serve the future.

Haunani Seward, the Director of Ke Kula Ni’ihau ‘o Kekaha on Kaua’i explains, “Our culture is defined by our values.  When we learn our genealogy, we honor our ancestors.  When we recognize a place as piko, we aloha ʻāina.  Accepting and recognizing our leadership roles is kuleana and we mālama these relationships.  These beliefs are the kaula or rope that binds us together.  NLN captures this kaula, creating relevant curricula for today’s haumāna.  Whether through language, reforestation, hula drama, or sailing canoes, the outcome is ultimately the same – passing on these important cultural values.”

An innovative, culturally-driven educational approach, known as EA-Education with Aloha presents unprecedented potential to address the distinctive needs of Hawai’i’s largest, most undereducated major ethnic population.  The success of EA-Education with Aloha is also an indicator that Hawaiians can design, implement and evaluate quality models of education and that public school children in Hawai’i, particularly native Hawaiian students, should be given an option to choose Hawaiian-focused ways of education.  Furthermore through public, private partnerships and sharing of resources, we can develop a parallel system of education that is culturally-driven, family-oriented and community-based for all Hawai’i nei.

Research have confirmed that Hawaiians in charter schools perform better on standardized reading and math tests and are significantly less chronically absent than Hawaiians in standard public schools. NLN schools have high levels of school engagement and positive achievements due to culturally-grounded, strength-based approaches, which are sensitive to student and family needs.

Co-Administrator Allyson Tamura of Kanu o ka ‘Äina New Century Public Charter School (KANU), located in Waimea on the island of Hawai’i, is extremely appreciative for OHA’s continued support of Hawaiian-focused public charter schools.  “OHA’s support allows KANU to remain steadfast to our school’s vision and mission, positively impacting our students, staff, their families and our community.  Mahalo nui loa!”

OHA’s generous funding will support over 4,000 students at seventeen Hawaiian-focused public charter schools with enrollments that are up to 90-percent Hawaiian. These schools are located on the islands of Kauai, O‘ahu, Moloka‘i and Hawai’i Island.

OHA is a unique, independent state agency established through the Hawai‘i State Constitution and statutes to advocate for the betterment of conditions of all Native Hawaiians with a Board of Trustees elected by the voters of Hawai‘i. OHA is guided by a vision and mission to ensure the perpetuation of the culture, to protect the entitlements of Native Hawaiians, and to build a strong and healthy Hawaiian people and nation.

Kamehameha Schools to Purchase Buildings and Land Comprising the Hualalai Academy’s Campus – Kamehameha Schools Kona Campus???

Leaders from Kamehameha Schools and Hualalai Academy have signed a Letter of Intent that allows for a due diligence period for Kamehameha Schools to purchase the buildings and land comprising the Hualalai Academy’s campus.

Hualalai Academy

Hualalai Academy

“We only recently learned that this property was available to purchase so we are not prepared at this time to share more details,” said Dee Jay Mailer, CEO of Kamehameha Schools. “I can say, though, that we recognize and appreciate the good work and effort that the leadership, faculty and staff have dedicated to the Academy over the years in serving their community.”

Dr. Matthew James, President of Hualalai’s Board of Directors said, “We have as our priority the closure of our school in the best of ways, allowing us to meet our obligations to our students and families, our teachers and staff through the end of the school year. Having an offer from Kamehameha Schools is good news in that it allows us to cement our plans to successfully complete our school year and close school operations prior to turning over the facility.”

“We are excited by this opportunity,” CEO Mailer added. “However, our due diligence is just beginning and there is much to do before we conclude this transaction. In the meantime, we send our aloha and best wishes to the entire Hualalai Academy ‘ohana and the community they serve as they complete this most important school year.”

Tomorrow! Kamehameha Schools Hawai’i Ho’olaule’a

Ho'olaulea 2014

Mahalo to the following companies for donating to the silent auction various gift certificates:

  • Black Rock Cafe
  • Blue Hawaiian Helicopters
  • Dahana Ranch Horseback Ride
  • Fun Factory
  • Divas Boutique
  • Hana Hou Photography
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Hawaiian Style Cafe
  • HBW Banners & Wraps
  • Hilo Bay Cafe
  • Hilo Hawaiian Hotel
  • Hilo Rice Noodle
  • Hualalai Resort Spa Massage
  • Imiloa
  • Kaleo’s Bar & Grill
  • KTA
  • HELCO credit
  • Kuhio Grille
  • BI Toyota Detail
  • Lyman Museum
  • Macy’s
  • Maui Divers Jewelry
  • Miyo’s
  • Nagareda Chiropractic
  • Natural Beauty Spa & Massage
  • Pizza Hawaii & Deli
  • Roy’s Waikoloa
  • Thirty-One Bag
  • Waipio Ride The Rim
  • Longs Drugs

The following items will also be available to bid on:

  • Big Island Delights
  • Big Island Candies
  • Handmade Ceramic Trivets
  • Hand Crafted Jewelry
  • Ceramics
  • Jade Bracelets
  • Dooney & Burke Drawstring Purse
  • Lots of various artwork
  • Poi Board
  • Poi Pounder
  • Lauhala Hat
  • Lots of KOA & hand crafted wood items!
  • Manuheali’i totes
  • Sig Zane Hat & shirts
  • Scenty Gift Basket
  • Pipipi Shell Leis
  • Handmade quilt piece
  • Handcrafted Hawaiian shirts
  • Konane Board
  • Ka’u Coffee
  • Hawaiian Rainforest Gift Pack
  • Wooden Walking Sticks

And more!!! Come check it out in the dining hall stage area.

New Playground Equipment Being Added at Kailua Park

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation is pleased to announce the upcoming installation of new children’s playground equipment at Kailua Park, also known as Old Airport Park, in Kailua-Kona.

The A.J. Watt Gymnasium in Mt. View. This playground is similar to the one being added at Kailua Park.

The A.J. Watt Gymnasium in Mt. View. This playground is similar to the one being added at Kailua Park.

Construction work will start Tuesday, February 18, and is expected to be completed by the end of May.

While the park will remain open, the existing playground will be removed and therefore unavailable for use. To protect the public, the contractor’s work area will be fenced off. Park users are advised to be aware of construction activity and equipment.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks the public for its cooperation, patience and understanding as it provides enhanced recreational opportunities for the island’s keiki.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105 or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Hawaii Application Period for “Preschool Open Doors” Program

The Department of Human Services (DHS) will be accepting applications for its Preschool Open Doors (POD) program between March 1 and April 30, 2014.  Applications received during this period will be considered for preschool participation between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015.

Montessori Country School at the Pahoa Aquatic Center

Montessori Country School at the Pahoa Aquatic Center

POD is a DHS child care subsidy program that provides statewide services to eligible low- and moderate-income families sending their children to a licensed preschool, prior to kindergarten entry. The goal of POD is to promote school readiness and to help children develop a life-long love for learning.  The DHS POD program is a collaboration with the Governor’s Executive Office of Early Learning.

Effective August 2014, a child must be five years old on or before July 31 to enter kindergarten.  Families affected by the new 2014-15 entry age, and families with children who will be enrolling in kindergarten during the 2015-16 school year, are encouraged to apply for the POD program.  Underserved or at-risk children born between August 1 and December 31, 2009 will receive priority consideration for the 2014-2015 school year.

POD applications will be available from the DHS contractor, PATCH, beginning March 1, 2014.  To reserve your packet on Oahu call 791-2130; on the Neighbor Islands call 1-800-746-5620.  Applications also can be downloaded from the PATCH website http://www.patchHawaii.org.

Applications must be received by April 30, 2014 to be considered for the 2014-2015 program year.  Return the completed POD application to:

PATCH – POD
560 North Nimitz Highway, Suite 218
Honolulu, HI  96817

POD subsidies help Hawaii families pay tuition at any of the State’s 627 licensed group child care facilities (i.e. preschools).  Eligible families may select the preschool of their choice. Contact the PATCH office to find a facility in your area.

Priorities for POD program selection are detailed in HAR 17-799 posted on the DHS website at http://humanservices.hawaii.gov/admin-rules-2/admin-rules-for-programs/.

School Athletics Funding Bill Scheduled For Hearing

Athletics has become a key factor in helping students stay motivated and succeed in the classroom. However, after the downturn in the economy, many athletic programs and positions have been cut. State Senator David Ige introduced this session a measure that would restore some of these positions and programs.

Click to learn more

Click to learn more

He urges public school, teachers and coaches to submit testimony on Senate Bill 3083, and become an active participant in the legislative process. During the hearing, scheduled for Monday, Feb. 10 at 1:15 p.m., schools across the state will be able to provide live testimony via the Hawaii State Senate’s Statewide Videoconferencing Pilot Program, which launched this year. Lawmakers initiated the program last year allowing neighbor island residents the opportunity to provide testimony using technology. Many people, especially students, are unable to travel to the State Capitol to provide testimony in person. The Senate’s technology initiative will allow them to testify on SB3083

“The advent of videoconferencing technologies within the Senate gives students easier access to the legislative process,” said Ige, “allowing them to be stewards of their own education and to voice opinions on how school sports has personally affected their lives.”

Ige, who is chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, spoke with many coaches, parents and teachers about the important role athletics play in overall student development. “For many students in our public schools, the opportunity to play sports motivates and positively impacts their success in the classroom. “

SB3083 is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Education Committee on Monday, February 10 at 1:15 p.m. in Room 414 of the State Capitol. Those wishing to submit testimony or to sign up to provide testimony via teleconferencing can do so by visiting www.capitol.hawaii.gov.   

Students Across State Testify Via Videoconferencing – Bringing the Legislature to Neighbor Islands Through Technology

Students from across the state participated in the legislative process by testifying via videoconferencing during a Senate hearing on two education bills.

Click to view the hearing

Click to view the hearing

Senate Bill 2441 establishes the R.E.A.C.H. program within the Office of Youth Services to provide a standardized framework and funding for after-school programs in public middle and intermediate schools.

sb2441The bill establishes a revolving fund to receive fees and other moneys to supplement the costs of administering and operating the program; appropriates funds for establishing the R.E.A.C.H. program to provide funding for after-school programs in middle and intermediate public schools; and establishes one full-time equivalent (1.0 FTE) position to support the program and appropriates funds for that position. Students from Hana High and Elementary School, Waiakea Intermediate School, Mililani Middle School and Molokai Intermediate School testified before the committee on this measure via video conferencing.

SB2446 requires the Department of Education to name the new public high school in Kihei, Maui the “Patsy Takemoto Mink High School,” in honor of the late United States Representative Patsy Takemoto Mink. Students from Kihei Public Charter School, Maui Waena Intermediate School and Maui High School testified on this measure via video conferencing.

SB2446

“Increasing access and transparency has always been a top priority for the Senate, and utilizing technology is an effective way of achieving this goal,” said Senator Jill Tokuda, chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee. “The measures before us impact our students and our schools, and the policies we draft are strengthened by their input and ideas. I look forward to seeing more individuals use this tool to provide testimony.”

Beginning this legislative session, all Hawaii residents will now have the chance to testify at hearings before the Senate Committees on Education (EDU) and Technology and the Arts (TEC) without physically being there. In January 2013, the Senate began a pilot project to allow neighbor island residents the opportunity to participate in the legislative process without traveling to Oahu. Understanding that access is also a barrier for Oahu residents, the committees now pilot the videoconferencing technology statewide.

In its inaugural year, the Neighbor Island Videoconferencing Program was piloted by the Senate Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Technology and the Arts.  In its second year, the two committees will continue to pilot this project, increasing the amount of constituents that can be reached and who can testify by expanding statewide. Hearing notices for the pilot project hearings will indicate that videoconferencing testimony will be allowed and contain a link to instructions for the public on how to participate.  Because this is a pilot project, there are some limitations to how many individuals are able to participate.  Following the completion of the legislative session, the project will be evaluated.

Senate Bill Restores Resources for Hawaii Public School Athletics

State Senator David Ige (D-16 Pearl City, Momilani, Pearlridge, ‘Aiea, Royal Summit, ‘Aiea Heights, Newtown, Waimalu, Hālawa, Pearl Harbor), chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, has introduced Senate Bill 3083, which, if passed, would make an appropriation to restore resources to the athletic programs in public schools throughout the state. The measure would also increase the positions authorized for school athletics and allow the Department of Education to create, fill and fund full-time equivalent, permanent, or temporary positions for fiscal year 2014-2015 for its athletic programs.

SB3083

SB3083 is also supported by Senator Michelle Kidani (D-18 Mililani Town, portion of Waipi‘o Gentry, Waikele, Village Park, Royal Kunia), vice chairwoman of the Ways and Means Committee, and Senator Jill Tokuda (D-24 Kāneohe, Kāneohe MCAB, Kailua, He‘eia, ‘Āhuimanu), chairwoman of the Education Committee.

“During the time of the ‘Great Recession’, the athletic programs at public schools have borne much of the brunt of the budget cuts made in education. This measure will help to provide additional resources to assure the development and safety of our high school athletes,” said Ige. “For many students in our public schools, the opportunity to play sports motivates and positively impacts their success in the classroom. In recognizing the positive influence coaches and athletics can have on our students, this measure helps illustrate the investment we are making in our students to help them succeed in both the classroom and on the playing field.”

SB3083 is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Education Committee on Monday, February 10 at 1:15 p.m.  Those wishing to submit testimony or to sign up to provide testimony via teleconferencing can do so by visiting www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

Two Students Arrested at Hilo High School After Explosion Puts School on Lockdown

Two high school students are in police custody in connection with a small explosion at Hilo High School.

Lockdown

No one was injured in the incident.

At 11:34 a.m. Thursday (January 30), South Hilo Patrol officers responded to a report that a device had detonated on campus. When police arrived, the school went into lockdown.

Lockdown2

Police recovered the remnants of a plastic liquid container and an unidentified liquid substance. The device was in an open corridor near the school’s auditorium. The only damage was residue at the site.

Patrol officers and school security guards screened the campus for any additional devices but found none.

Lockdown3The lockdown was lifted shortly before 1 p.m.
Lockdown4
Two 16-year-old male students were arrested and taken into custody while detectives from the Juvenile Aid Section continue the investigation.