REPORT FROM THE HSTA – HONOLULU – Starting today, the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) is launching a statewide television advertising campaign to encourage voters to vote “no” on the constitutional amendment regarding early childhood education. If passed, the amendment would allow public, taxpayer money to be used to fund private preschools. The statewide television advertising campaign will run through the Nov. 4 General Election.
The HSTA is concerned that the amendment would take away money from public schools to benefit wealthy private preschools and sacrifice Hawaii’s neediest families. Specific concerns include:
· The amendment will cost taxpayers upwards of an additional $125 million per year, and the government does not have any plans on how to generate the additional budget;
· The amendment would rob public schools of funds that could go towards infrastructure and technology upgrades, school supplies and more teachers to reduce class sizes;
· The amendment would allow public funds to subsidize wealthy private schools that charge as much as $15,000 in annual tuition;
· The amendment will not cover the entire cost of tuition charged by preschools, preventing the neediest families from having equal access to preschool; and
· Hawaii’s neediest communities are not currently served by private preschools, so most families will have to go outside of their communities to gain access to private preschools.
“The HSTA and Hawaii’s public school teachers want to ensure that all of our children are treated fairly and equitably,” said Wil Okabe, HSTA president. “However, this constitutional amendment will only benefit a few at the sacrifice of the state’s neediest families. That is why we are encouraging voters to vote ‘no’ on the constitutional amendment regarding early childhood education.”
The first HSTA ad regarding the constitutional amendment is available at http://vimeo.com/106763340. For more information on the HSTA’s constitutional amendment campaign, visit http://www.hsta.org/news/vote-no-on-giving-public-money-to-private-schools.
The Hawaii State Teachers Association is the exclusive representative of more than 13,500 public school teachers statewide. As the state affiliate of the more than 3-million-member National Education Association, HSTA represents and supports teachers in collective bargaining, as well as with legislative and professional development issues.