Teacher furloughs may affect high school sports statewide

Seth Ilae
Seth Ilae
Randall Okimoto
Randall Okimoto

By Anthony Ferreira

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Teacher furloughs on Fridays will definitely have an impact on students.

Especially student athletes.

Big changes may be ahead for high school sports statewide.

"Every week you look forward to playing under those Friday night lights," said Seth Ilae, the defensive captain for the Farrington High football team.

But will it soon be Monday night lights instead?

That's one of the options high school athletic programs now face.

The furloughs mandated in the new contract for public school teachers are set for nearly every Friday.

"It's a big, big affect on us and we really didn't expect this, I didn't," said Randall Okimoto, Head Coach for the Governors.

Okimoto is focused on the playing field, but also wondering what these changes will mean for his players.

"If there is a furlough day on a game night, we can not have a game and we can't have practice also," he said.  "Morale is kind of low, I'd say, because it affects our way of life, quality of life, opportunities for these kids. Providing them something to do."

"When we have a Friday game, it's like we want to come to school. You know, everybody hypes you up, you know?" said Ilae.

It's already been a tough year for high school athletic programs with numerous sacks to their budgets.

Now, coordinating this change may be a nightmare.

"When you have to reschedule a game, there's so many factors that go into it - finding officials, moving schedules and so on," Okimoto said.

The Hawaii High School Athletic Association is waiting for the official word from the Department of Education.

It's executive director had "no comment" about what changes may lie ahead.