Board hears final pleas before budget cuts - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Board hears final pleas before budget cuts

Natasha Chappel Natasha Chappel
Jessica Caraang Jessica Caraang
Breene Harimoto Breene Harimoto
Donna Ikeda Donna Ikeda

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - More than a 100 concerned students, teachers and staff were at a special meeting Thursday at McKinley High School, urging Hawaii School Board leaders to spare programs from the chopping block.

Officials say they must cut up to $69 million in positions and programs. School groups are hoping it's not them.

Protests to pleas.

"I'm here to ask that PAAC not be entirely left out of the DOE Budget," said Student Natasha Chappel.

"Students must be prepared and globally competent no matter what field they choose, " said Supporter Jill Canfield.

"PAAC can help students become more aware," said Student Jessica Caraang.

Among the more than 100 on hand, The Pacific Asian Affairs Council (PAAC), in danger of losing more than $40,000 in Department of Education funding. That's about 11% of the group's total funding.

"I know we have to help ourselves first before we help others but that doesn't mean we have to cause our students to become more ignorant in foreign affairs," said Caraang.

"All of our programs are great but we have a burden to consider the situation of the economy and the cutbacks and comply with the governor's request but not cut so deep that we hurt our children," said Board member Breene Harimoto.

Cutting almost 15% of the budget so far or about $43 million, the task is tough.

"It's been extremely painful. We knew cuts were coming but we didn't understand the magnitude and now we are struggling," said Board member Donna Ikeda.

The board says so far, it's preserving funding at the school level and hope that if programs like PAAC don't make it, they'll stay alive through funding from general school discretionary funds.

"They're going to have to work harder with less," said Ikeda.

                As decision day looms, groups like PAAC give it one last effort, hoping final pleas display dedication and convince the board to keep their program.

The deadline to deliver the final cuts to the Governor's office is Friday, October 10th.

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