Sit-in Protest to end Furlough Fridays continues at capital - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Sit-in Protest to end Furlough Fridays continues at capital

Reception area of Governor Linda Lingle's office Reception area of Governor Linda Lingle's office
Marguerite Higa Marguerite Higa
Vernadette Gonzalez Vernadette Gonzalez
Senator Will Espero Senator Will Espero

By Holly Juscen – bio | email

Members of the group "Save Our Schools Hawaii" are trying to put the heat on Governor Lingle to end furlough fridays, They are camping out for a second night inside the reception area of her office.

"We are doing this for the kids. We want an end to the furlough fridays. The Governor has the power to make that happen so that's why we are here," says Marguerite Higa of Save Our Schools Hawaii.

The small group of parents claim the governor is ignoring them, and they insist the governor continue negotiations with the board of education and the teachers union so an agreement can be reached.  "She hasn't come in. She hasn't responded to any our being here. She hasn't responded to the letter that we sent here asking here to come to the table and negotiate in good faith," Vernadette Gonzalez, a Manoa parent.

Thursday evening Governor Lingle fired back, "Claims by a small group of people who are currently occupying the reception area of my office that i have not been personally involved in such discussions are patently false."

No scheduled meeting are taking place but Lingle says she is willing to talk with the BOE the DOE and the teachers union, I think with an important negotiation we like to keep the lines of communication open as wide as possible and as long as possible." Time is running out to close the $30 million dollar gap between the teachers union proposal of $92 million and governor's of $62 million. A measure is still alive at the capitol to use money from the hurricane relief fund, but all side have to agree by Monday.

The sit-in protesters say they will remain in the governors office as long as they can. State public safety officers are making life difficult, putting a restriction on futons, food and the use of restrooms at night.

Some lawmakers have stopped by in support hoping an end is near, "As we are looking at the state budget it's imperative we at least make the next school year whole and do away with these furlough fridays and make sure they never come back," says Senator Will Espero.

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