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By Garrett Toguchi, Hawaii State Board of Education Chair

Gov. Linda Lingle announced today that she would fund an agreement reached between the Board, Department of Education and the Hawaii State Teachers Association to eliminate 17 public school furloughs in the 2010-11 academic year.

I’m glad funding has been approved for the supplemental agreement reached between the Board of Education, Department of Education and the Hawaii State Teachers Association, giving back to students all the days they deserve and need to be in school.

Under the supplemental agreement, all 17 furloughs will be eliminated in the 2010-11 school calendar with $57.2 million from the Hurricane Relief Fund, and six planning days the teachers have agreed to give back to the state.

Public charter schools will receive up to $2.2 million in federal State Fiscal Stabilization Funds. Local banks have offered a $10 million line of credit to support the agreement, if necessary.

I want to commend students, administrators, teachers, staff and parents for being resilient, keeping their heads high and doing everything they could to weather a difficult academic year. While the Board fought to avoid and put an end to furloughs in the past year, public education unfortunately did not receive adequate support.

Although furloughs are behind us now, improving public education is a never-ending task, and our continued support for our schools will be critical to keep student achievement rising and to prepare graduates for college and careers.

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Malia Zimmerman is the editor and co-founder of Hawaii Reporter. She has worked as a consultant and contributor to several dozen media outlets including ABC 20/20, FOX News, MSNBC, the Wall Street Journal, UPI and the Washington Times. Malia has been listed as one of the nation’s top "Web Proficients, Virtuosi, and Masters" and "Hawaii's new media thought leader" by http://www.thewebstersdictionary.com Reach her at Malia@hawaiireporter.com