Parents attending the Hawaii Senate Special Committee to Consider Approaches to Teacher Furloughs at the State Capitol auditorium on Friday, Oct. 30 discovered that the loss of instruction on 2 Fridays per month for up to 17 days this school year could have been avoided if the Hawaii State Teachers’ Union (HSTA) and the Department of Education (DOE) had just followed the School Community Council (SCC) process.

Chair Wil Espero, D-Ewa Beach, opened the hearing by stating that the Board of Education, Department of Education, Gov. Linda Lingle, the House and all of the unions must come to a consensus on renegotiated collective bargaining contracts to allow alternatives to the furloughs. Parents were not included in his list of stakeholders.

But Sen. Mike Gabbard stated that one-third of all schools have applied for furlough waivers through their SCCs, but 112 schools haven’t made requests. “Parents can get involved and talk to their SCC,” said Gabbard

According to the Board of Education (BOE) Nov. 5 agenda, over 90 schools, including Aikahi Elementary, now have made an exception request to the board. Other schools are requesting a change to their schools’ bell schedules, so that instructional time lost on Fridays may be moved to the 4 remaining days of the school week.

At an Oct. 1 BOE meeting, Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto testified that the deadline for schools seeking to change their waiver day or planning/collaboration day to an instructional day was October 22, 2009, so schools would have time to meet with their SCCs.

But at the Senate hearing, Toguchi said that the Superintendent is requesting waivers before Nov. 13 when 2 committees

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