Final Furlough Friday forces many to look ahead to next year - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Final Furlough Friday forces many to look ahead to next year

Bill Unruh Bill Unruh
Corey Rosenlee Corey Rosenlee
Jacob Chandler Jacob Chandler
Garrett Toguchi Garrett Toguchi
Chris Unruh Chris Unruh

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Furlough Fridays no more, at least for this year.

The 17th and final Furlough Friday was highlighted with make-shift classrooms at the Capitol.

But many are looking at what looms ahead for the next school year. There are 17 Furlough Fridays scheduled for the upcoming school year.

But the Board of Education is urging Governor Lingle to release the funds approved by the legislature.

There were lessons on civics, biology and even dance. But despite the learning, it wasn't at the preferred place.

"I think it's sad that we had to balance the budget on our kid's backs, quite frankly it's sad," Furlough Friday event organizer Bill Unruh said.

Students, teachers and parents gathered at the capitol Friday for what they hoped would be the last Furlough Friday ever.

"You have the ask yourself at the end of the day, what do I cut? Do my kids not learn about Statehood, my kids this year, literally had to skip why Hawaii became a state," Campbell High School teacher Corey Rosenlee said.

The biggest test still remains, what to do next year. The legislature set $67-million aside to pay for the furloughs.

But the BOE isn't counting on it.

"Right now principals are being told to plan the year as if there were furlough days and once the governor makes her decision known, then we can start to make some plans from that point," BOE chair Garrett Toguchi said.

Toguchi also says he wrote the governor a letter last Monday urging her to approve the plan and release the money, but he says he hasn't heard back.

A spokesperson for the governor says she will release some money, just $57.2-million to restore 11 classroom days but only if the teachers will give up six planning days as well.

That would get rid of all furlough days next year. Something students and parents can only wait and hope for.

"I'm missing out on some days for my spelling tests, if I had school days on Friday, I would be able to study more and sometimes do better on my spelling tests," Elementary school student Chris Unruh said.

Many are also hoping the governor signs into law, a bill that requires a 180-day school year. This would end furloughs for good.

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