By Rep. Gene Ward, R-Hawaii Kai – Today, I have nothing but praise for the private industry, specifically the local banking community, for ending furlough Fridays and getting our children back to school, after Gov. Linda Lingle announced that a $10 million interest-free line of credit offered by Hawaii’s major banks would bridge the gap between the various parties in the negotiation.

This solution shows that when government works with private industry innovation and progress prevail.

The solution to ending furloughs includes $57.2 million from the Hurricane Relief Fund, $2.2 million in ARRA funds dedicated to charter schools, six teacher planning days converted to instructional days, and a $10 million interest-free line of credit that can be used if the initially monies do not suffice.

This solution, to a problem that should never have taken place, came eight months too late. It took government eight months to do what our private industries did in a matter of days. Of course, that is not to say that all parties were not significant, but it seems that it was our businessmen that, in the end, made all the difference in the world,” Rep. Ward said, “It is my hope that in the future, the Legislature and other members of the public sector will continue to work with the private sector for the betterment of Hawaii and toward the common good of our keiki.

I, like Gov. Linda Lingle, acknowledge all the parents and kids who tirelessly petitioned to end furlough Friday and thanks them for reminding the entire community what is at stake when we lose sight of education.

Representative Gene Ward is a member of the State House of Representatives and represents House District 17, Hawaii Kai—Kalama Valley.

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