Republican Press Conference Students First, No Excuses

“The legislature won’t face the facts. We need to put our students first, no more excuses. We agree with the Governors’ statement yesterday that we are not equipping public school students for jobs or college,” said House Minority Leader Lynn Finnegan. “Hawaii is consistently near the bottom in terms of national ranking. This is a fact we’ve known for many years. We rank 13th in the country in terms of per pupil spending. We are expending, on the average, about $11,000 per student. And this is without debt service or fringe benefits. We know that principals, and teachers, and students, and parents, and communities are frustrated with the system we’ve given them,” stated Representative Finnegan (R-32nd District, Lower Pearlridge, Aiea, Halawa, Hickam, Pearl Harbor, Moanalua Gardens)

“There is no accountability right now in the system. The Governor said it best when she said, the buck stops nowhere. We are promoting and advocating for not only eliminating the Board of Education, but instead replacing that with the Governor’s cabinet having the Superintendent. Lack of transparency is also the cause of many of the results we’ve had,” continued Rep. Finnegan. “We strongly agree with the previous Governors that lack of funding is not the problem. The U.S. Census ranks Hawaii 13th highest in terms of per student operating expenditures.”

Today, the House and Senate are poised to move bills that raise taxes and raid the Hurricane Relief Fund to increase funding to public education. Late last year, the House Republicans proposed measures to fix the public education system and end ‘Furlough Fridays’, including a comprehensive audit of the Department of Education, support for charter schools, increasing accountability in the public education system by making the Superintendent a cabinet position, and mandating a minimum number of school days and hours. Those measures have since been introduced as part of the House Minority Package, as the “KIDS (Keiki Investment and Development) Act.”

“We need to enact real change, and not fake reform,” concluded Rep. Finnegan.

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