Hawaii lawmakers consider school land development

Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - House education committee Chair Roy Takumi wants to allow the state to lease unused public school land and use the revenue to help improve Hawaii's schools.

But the question of public school land development has gotten embroiled in the highly controversial issue of repealing the state's land development agency.

House committees will vote Monday on both issues.

Takumi says the so-called 21st Century Schools initiative is important because the state will never catch up with the current repair and maintenance backlog.

The Democrat says Hawaii's schools are an average of 65 years old and require $600 million in total repairs.

But critics worry about how potential development could affect their communities and the environment.

Assistant Minority Leader Cynthia Thielen opposes the bill and says it's a "21st century land grab."

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