Group urges people to vote for appointed education board

Donna Ikeda
Donna Ikeda
Kelly Maeshiro
Kelly Maeshiro

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Fed up and ready for a change. It's the vote to decide not to vote.

A group of parents, students and educators are urging others to vote yes on a ballot measure to appoint, instead of elect, the State Board of Education.

But not everyone is on-board. Hawaii has had an elected board of education for nearly five decades.

But some say the Furlough Friday issue is reason enough to turn the page on this decades old system.

"Whatever happens, the accountability goes squarely to the governor," BOE board member Donna Ikeda said.

That's the point of view from the group "Hawaii's Children First." About 30 of them sign-waved on Punchbowl Street in front of the Queen Liliuokalani Building where the BOE meets.

"I think at least with an appointed board, you'll have people moving in the same direction, agreeing what that direction should be," Ikeda said.

Ikeda is the lone board member supporting an appointed system. But her term is up in a few months and she's not seeking re-election.

Former student board member Kelly Maeshiro just finished up his one-year term.

Originally and for a long time, he was in favor of an elected board, but after being on it, he changed his mind.

"I think seeing the divisiveness that characterized this past year between the governor, the legislature and the board, with regards to furloughs and other problems with negotiations, I think the appointed board is the way to go," he said.

But BOE chair Garrett Toguchi disagrees. In a statement on Sunday, he says instead of representing parents, students and educators, appointed board members would have only one constituent, which is the governor.

He says appointments would be made without true public involvement, based on politics and party lines instead of the needs of students.

On average, only 13 percent of voters actually vote for BOE candidates.

It may take more than that to decide this November if a board should be elected or appointed.

As a reminder, if you plan to have a say on this issue, a vote left blank means the same as a "no" vote.

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