Measure moves to let governor pick education board - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Measure moves to let governor pick education board

Lynn Finnegan Lynn Finnegan
Lei Ahu Isa Lei Ahu Isa

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - If a house bill becomes law, an elected Hawaii State Board of Education (BOE) could be a thing of the past with the board being appointed by the governor.

"What I think you're finding is that there's enough pressure out there to say, 'Hey, we truly need change that will shake up the system, will reform education,'" said state House Minority Leader Lynn Finnegan, R-32nd (Aiea, Halawa).

By unanimous vote a conference committee passed House Bill 2376. It proposes that voters weigh in on amending the constitution.

The ballot question would ask: "Shall the Board of Education be changed to a board appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the senate as provided by law?"

But current board members argue there's no research to support an appointed board in relation to student achievement.

"Twice before there was put on the ballot where we should have an appointed board. And twice it failed," BOE vice chair Lei Ahu Isa said.

"Instead of representing parents, students, educators, and seeking public input on academic and financial decisions, appointed BOE members would have only one constituent -- the governor," BOE chairman Garrett Toguchi said.

But Finnegan and other lawmakers said having one person in charge would streamline the process.

"Education is almost like a separate branch of government in the way we have it set up. This would bring it in line so that there is accountability of the governor," she said.

The bill now goes to both houses for a vote.

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