End to Hawaii's school furlough crisis draws mixed reaction - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

End to Hawaii's school furlough crisis draws mixed reaction

Claire Hanusz Claire Hanusz
Laurie Yoshinaga Laurie Yoshinaga
Ted Liu Ted Liu
Gaye Ibara Gaye Ibara
Coe Trevorrow Coe Trevorrow

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As you might expect, most parents are thrilled to see the school furlough saga come to an end, although many are wondering why Hawaii's leaders couldn't figure it out months ago.

Those Hawaii News Now spoke with wonder why a solution took so long. 17 days of classroom time were lost this school year. And while furloughs have been eliminated for next school year, critics say the deal came with a price.

After months of fighting, some protesters who landed in jail for their cause were back in the Governor's office, this time celebrating.

"We are thrilled. A lot of us got teary when we heard the Governor's announcement," said Claire Hanusz, a protester with the group Save Our Schools (SOS) who was part of the sit-in rally staged at the Governor's office in April.

But at Hokulani Elementary, the unpaid days off took a toll.

"Everything is rushed a lot of the other extracurricular things that we do get cut," said Laurie Yoshinaga, a teacher at Hokulani.

Teachers like Yoshinaga, as well as some parents, say the solution should have come earlier.

"Definitely, anybody would've hoped that it would've come to a better compromise sooner than this," said Yoshinaga.

So what took so long?

"Because we both still believed our position was a correct one. I believed $57.2 million was needed, they believed $67 million was needed," said Governor Lingle.

The breakthrough idea actually came from Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) Director Ted Liu, who suggested the interest-free bank loan to bridge the $10 million gap between the competing plans.

Now, the Board of Education (BOE) Chair is ready to move past the bitter stalemate with the Governor.

"The main thing was knowing that we would have this money available to us," said Garrett Toguchi, BOE Chair.

Some parents weren't that bothered by the lost class time.

"I don't think it affected the kids too much because at Hokulani, because the teachers have been giving a lot more homework than they normally do and a lot of the half days became full days," said Gaye Ibara, a parent.

Of course, not everyone was.

"It was really awful for kids that they had to suffer just cause of this economic crisis," said Coe Trevorrow, a 3rd grader at Manoa Elementary.

For the children, it's a life-lesson learned.

"That people can come together and find a resolution to this so-called furlough Fridays," said Trevorrow.

The Governor says by March or April, the state will know whether it would have to tap into the $10 million line of credit.

More abouot this story on HawaiiNewsNow.com:

Unique deal brings an end to Hawaii's school furlough crisis

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