Plan to have developers along rail line help foot bill for schools stalls

Updated: Feb. 21, 2017 at 5:39 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A plan to charge developers along the rail line hundreds of millions of dollars in school impact fees has stalled.

The state Department of Education said the money is needed to pay for new school, but Board of Education members want more public input and legal review.

"I'm not really convinced that we have the right impact fee so I would like to make a motion that we defer approving any impact fees," said BOE member Kenneth Uemura.

The department originally wanted developers along the rail line between Ala Moana Center and Kalihi to pay $365 million, or more than $9,000 per unit.

School officials said that amount was needed for new classrooms that would serve the more than 10,000 students living in the urban core 20 to 30 years from now.

But on Tuesday, officials it could be done for much less -- about $5,000 per unit.

The board deferred any decisionmaking on the proposal, and it's not clear when it will take up the matter again.

School officials and the teachers union say any delay will mean less money.

"Every month that we delay this, more people are getting building permits and we're missing out on the opportunity to be able to collect these fees," said Dann Carlson, DOE assistant superintendent.

Added Corey Rosenlee, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association: "Every day we have these multi-million, billion dollar apartments buildings going up. And they're paying very little or nothing when it comes the school facilities in their neighborhoods."

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