Public gives input on proposed school cuts - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Public gives input on proposed school cuts

Sarah Toleafoa Sarah Toleafoa
Pokii Ahmad Pokii Ahmad
Breene Harimoto Breene Harimoto

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

KAKAAKO (KHNL) - Hawaii schools are feeling the hurt as officials let the public in on the process of discussing up to $69 million from its budget.

From funding for charter schools to special needs and operating expenses, the public made their plea to save their program.

Chants and cheers. Aiea, Moanalua to Kaimuki and Kapolei, these are high school students speaking up to save their Peer Education Program from the chopping block. Students use it as an outlet of support for serious issues affecting hawaii's teens.

"We educate our peers on drugs and suicide," said Student Sarah Toleafoa.

Pokii Ahmad's joined the program shy and insecure.

"Now I advocate all the time, I'm into different things, I'm captain of my mock trial team and that requires a lot of confidence and conviction," said Ahmad.

Shouts outside, to silence inside as budget committee members slim down spending by up to $69 million at the governor's request.

" We have to make some difficult decisions tonight. The bottom line is if we can focus in on our core functions but there are a lot of peripheral programs that are so wonderful," said Committee Chairman Breene Harimoto.

With 23 positions at high schools statewide, PEP reaches at least 1,000 students a year at cost of almost a million dollars. Students are sweating the consequences should it be burned off the budget.

"A lot more smoking, doing drugs, and lot of drunk driving," said a student.

"Look at the difference we've been making and the difference that we could make," said Ahmad.

Other major proposed cuts include about 2.4 million for substitute custodians, 2 million for science textbooks and 1.9 million in charter school coordinator positions.

As committee members finalize their cuts, these students hope to put a little pep in the steps towards saving their program.

Committee members will finalize their proposed cuts and present them for approval by the full school board on Thursday.

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