Parents upset with Mililani Middle School schedule change

Mililani Middle School
Mililani Middle School
Town hall meeting
Town hall meeting
Ken Johnson
Ken Johnson
Michelle Ogata
Michelle Ogata

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

MILILANI (HawaiiNewsNow) - It appears the new law Hawaii passed in June mandating 180-school days per year at public schools, has an unpopular side effect.

And it's playing out at Mililani Middle School.

The law is designed to prevent a repeat of Furlough Fridays.

But to meet the 180-day requirement, Mililani Middle School has to make a major schedule change, one that has parents and teachers upset.

On Thursday night, administrators held a town hall meeting at the school cafeteria to discuss the conversion.

"Whatever change goes on here, it's got to benefit the kids and I'm not sure this is benefiting our kids," said Ken Johnson, a math teacher at Mililani Middle School.

Starting next school year, Mililani Middle will go from a three-track system to a four-track system.

"With a three-track school, two-thirds of the kids are on campus, one-third is off. With a four-track school, three-fourths of the kids are on campus and one-fourth is off," said Johnson.

It's a system designed to address growing student populations.

Kids are divided in groups, and each group has a different schedule.

Mililani Middle is the only school in the area that does not have a traditional schedule.

Parents like Michelle Ogata say it's a headache, when you also have children in other schools.

"It's really difficult in having people watch your children, planning for family vacations, anything you want to do with family, it's really hard," said Ogata.

On top of that, class sizes will increase from 23 or 24 students, up to 30.

"{There'll be} less teacher attention because the teacher's focusing on what's happening in the classroom and not focusing on what the students' needs may be," said Ogata.

But administrators say a 30-student class is still within the terms of the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) contract.

Plus, a four-track system will add 19 instructional days to the school year, giving more classroom time as mandated by the new state law.

The schedule change would bring the number of instructional days from 152 to 171 per year.

That's still below the required 180.

School principal, Elynne E. Chung, says they plan on asking lawmakers to exempt schools on track systems.

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