LG candidates debate need for education audit

Lynn Finnegan, (R) Lieutenant Governor Candidate
Lynn Finnegan, (R) Lieutenant Governor Candidate
Brian Schatz, (D) Lieutenant Governor Candidate
Brian Schatz, (D) Lieutenant Governor Candidate

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Education has been a top priority this election season and there's disagreement on what should be the first course of action on the subject once a new governor is elected. Lynn Finnegan wants a full audit of the department of education.  Brian Schatz says what's needed is executive oversight to work with the superintendent of schools.

Audit has become a buzz word this campaign season and both gubernatorial campaigns disagree on if a full audit is necessary when talking about the department of education.

"We should be able to look at the way they manage their money, the way the management practices are and it should be transparent to the people of Hawaii," said Lynn Finnegan, (R) Lieutenant Governor Candidate.

"An audit will take two years and cost two million dollars. We already have plenty of audits. What we need is to implement right away because our kids can't wait," said Brian Schatz, (D) Lieutenant Governor Candidate.

Hawaii is the only state in the country with one single unified school district.  There are more than 255 schools, 182,000 students, 13,000 teachers and thousands more administrators.  While financial audits have been done annually, Schatz questions why Aiona and Finnegan didn't push harder to get a full audit done before.

"If an audit were such a great idea you would think the lieutenant governor over the last eight years could have accomplished an audit.  It's just interesting that he in the last five days of the campaign is suggesting that an audit would solve our problems," said Schatz.

Finnegan says republicans did try to get an audit, but the difference now is the will of the people.

"We are at a time when the people of Hawaii are ready to put the pressure on the department of education," said Finnegan.

While they're fighting for public school kids they've also both opted to send a child to private school.

"I will try and do my very best for all the children in Hawaii.  When it comes to my children we felt that we didn't have an option when it came to ninth grade," said Finnegan, who has a daughter in 10th grade at Punahou School and a son in sixth grade at Voyager Charter School.

"I don't get into that, I think everybody has to make a choice that is best for their own family," said Schatz, who has a son in kindergarten at Punahou School.

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