Fight over furlough Friday - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Fight over furlough Friday

Charles Hughes Charles Hughes
Mayor  Mufi Hannemann Mayor Mufi Hannemann
Larry Bush Larry Bush
Eric Seitz Eric Seitz

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

MANOA (KHNL) - October 23rd is a day many have marked on their calendar. The first of about 20 additional days off from school. While some are still planning what to do on that furlough day, some are fighting so it never even happens.

Manoa District Park is where you'll find Chester Hughes on the first furlough Friday. Coaching 9 and 10 year olds in basketball and in life's important lessons.

"In basketball, its teamwork - the idea of working together. And its also a healthy activity, not staying home and twiddling your thumbs...its important," said the Nuuanu resident.

For some the first Friday off from school under the new program will be a day to play in various sports. Or just spend extra time being a kid.

But along with kids playing at parks on furlough fridays, the City and County of Honolulu is also taking aim at opening them up for commercial operations.

At Manoa district park and in Kaneohe, the city is teaming up with Kamaaina Kids and the YMCA to provide an all day alternative for families. Complete with outdoor activities and also time for learning.

"We wanted to simulate as much as possible what the kids would go thru in the classroom," said Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann.

"It has a curriculum that includes 'kid lit', reading, homework and science, recreation and swim and gym, its a full day," said Larry Bush, the President of the YMCA.

But while many are drawing up their game plan to fill the day with activities, attornies are also drawing up their game plan to put the furloughs on hold.

"I don't happen to believe every stone has been left unturned and they have looked at all the alternatives here, I think what happened is a catastrophe," said attorney Eric Seitz.

Because talks between parents of special needs children and the state have not resulted in any progress, lawsuits will soon be filed to keep kids in school.

"We are going to ask for a temporary restraining order, because the disruption of the education of these kids is going to cause irreparable, cause long term harm. Many of these children are at critical stages, developmentally, emotionally, educationally. Any kinds of setback could have a long term effect on whether they ever reach their potential," added Seitz.

Along with the class action lawsuit that will be filed by Seitz on behalf of special needs children, other attorneys will also be filing individual lawsuits this week as well.

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