No school days furloughed, but school bus service cut

State Sen. Jill Tokuda
State Sen. Jill Tokuda

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Lawmakers continue to try to balance the budget and among the main areas looked at is education.

State senators do not want to repeat history and cut instructional school days, which is why they allocated $60 million from the general fund to keep kids in the classroom.  However another cut could make getting the kids to school more challenging.  Part of the plan would take $22 million from school transportation.  That means next school year bus contracts would be paid for with federal funds but after that kids would not have school buses to pick them up and drop them off.

"The Department of Education makes up over one third of the entire general fund budget so as much as we would have not cut them at all, we've had to take some serious looks at budget items for the Department of Education," said State Senator Jill Tokuda, (D) Education Committee Chair.

Special needs students would still have access to the school bus system, but other students would need to find another way to get from home to school.

Senator Tokuda says each year school bus costs go up 15 percent and senators felt it was more of a priority to fund programs in the actual classroom.

State Representative Roy Takumi, chair of the House Education Committee, says a lot of things are still up in the air and there are factors beyond the education budget. They would cut fewer state services if they also agreed on increasing taxes.

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