BY PAMELA YOUNG — I was motivated to run because of the DOE budget crisis. I am a CPA, a certified government financial manager, and believe I am qualified to assist the Board of Education with its fundamental budget problems.
As a government accountant, I bring balance to the BOE. I am familiar with large government budgets and spending, involving thousands of employees, as I am the Head of the Accounting Section of the City & County of Honolulu.
Secondly, I care about children, and want to ensure that they receive a quality education. Children should be our top priority. A quality education is a foundation for success as an adult. A quality education will help reduce crime, poverty, substance abuse, mental and physical illnesses, and a host of other problems.
The public is demanding reform because our children deserve the best. Fiscal accountability and transparency are a must, and the change begins at the top — with the BOE. (1) All BOE meetings should be broadcast on Olelo – live, if this is feasible. (2) Much more detailed information, including reports and written testimony, should be available online. (3) Re-establish the Audit Committee to ensure that the auditor’s concerns are addressed.
With these tough economic times, we must cut expenses and waste, and monitor spending and procurement contracts. We need to manage our resources responsibly. We need to take a closer look at the budget and make appropriate adjustments. We need to cut back where we are able to do so, and come up with creative solutions for funds and resources to help improve student achievement. We will be making some very tough choices to cut expenses and monitor our procurement contracts. Again, change begins at the top, and expenses will have to be cut within the BOE first.
Because of the economy, many people in our community are suffering. We see unemployment and homelessness in our community, so we must avoid tax increases. We need to look at raising funds through private sources and foundations, as well as the federal government.
Decentralization is an important issue, as more authority has been given to the principals. We should put together a task force to revisit the issue of having local school boards, aside from charter schools.
Once we put our finances in order, we will have the resources to improve student proficiency, give extra help to low-performing schools and students, reduce the dropout rates, and support our teachers.
Pamela Young is a BOE Candidate (Oahu at-large). For more information, go to: http://www.pamelayounghawaii.com/