HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Furlough Fridays are over. Governor Linda Lingle made the announcement around 4:15 in a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the State Capitol. It's the news parents and teachers have been waiting for, but it took more than state money to end the shortened school year at Hawaii's public schools.
The governor's office was packed not only with education leaders but even some former foes that faced off with the state over furloughs, all now in agreement over the four-part plan to get kids back in school next year.
The governor will release $57.2 million of the money set aside by lawmakers this session. She will also pull $2.2 million in other federal funds, just for charter schools.
Teachers will give up six non- instructional days to make up the difference. If expenses go past what the state set aside, local banks are providing a $10 million no-interest loan to make up the difference.
People can thank two rather unlikely heroes for ending the crisis. Iit was actually a bank CEO and the director of DBEDT, the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, Ted Liu.
Liu went to Don Horner, the CEO of First Hawaiian Bank on his own. Together they agreed the situation with schools had gotten ridiculous. They came up with an idea to give a $10 million loan to the state, with all the banking community coming together to offer the loan at no interest.
By law, they had to charge some interest to the state, but they say they will give it back at the end. All the major banks in Hawaii are involved.
The governor says without the bank loan the situation would still be at a stalemate, with neither her administration or the teachers union willing to compromise any further.
"All of us are to a point now where we really want to look forward; we don't want to spend any time looking backward. Let me talk about the plan. Bottom line is, the furloughs are over" said Lingle.
"Why? Because it's the right thing to do. I think all of us put the children first, which frankly has not been the case in the last several months in this discussion" said Horner.