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Funding Appropriated For Mililani Schools

Kidani’s Korner …Sen. Michelle Kidani

As this edition of Central Oahu Islander is published, the Legislature is just a few days away from our scheduled May 7 adjournment. Our work on most major bills has been completed, and over the last several days we have been meeting to resolve differences between Senate and House versions of these measures.

As chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Education, one of my priorities has been legislation to modify student instructional hours to allow six hours per day to be counted from bell to bell. This would reduce the burden on administrators trying to account for every minute of instructional time.

Another priority has been to recommit to teachers for additional bonuses when they agree to teach in Title I schools or priority schools, as identified by DOE. We also want to establish pre-kindergarten opportunities for “gap group” families who don’t qualify for subsidized programs, but who cannot afford private pre-school.

I also am hoping for funding to keep Preschool Open Doors alive. No funds were included in the administration’s budget as it was sent to us.

Another bill would phase out the multi-track schedule currently in effect at four Oahu schools — including Mililani Middle School — that have reduced student classroom time, and eliminated opportunities for summer school.

Gov. Ige has released funds I appropriated in a prior legislative session to move forward with improvements to Mililani schools.

Mililani Uka Elementary’s technology capability will benefit from $1 million in system upgrades. The parking lot at Mililani Mauka Elementary will be resurfaced, and StarCom Builders has been awarded $115,000 to carry out re-roofing work at Mililani Waena Elementary.

Several projects in all Mililani schools are included in more than $50 million for school repairs and maintenance. Also, $200,000 now has been made available to begin design work for repairs and improvements to portions of Hamakua Ditch Irrigation System that brings water from Windward to Central Oahu farms.

The school year is almost over. For Mililani High School’s class of 2015, this is final exam time, and in less than a month we will be bidding aloha to some 560 seniors as they take the next steps toward fulfilling their dreams.

The school tells me that more than 40 seniors have maintained a 4.0 GPA, and 28 of those have completed their senior projects to be designated as class valedictorians. Final figures for scholarship awards will be available later this week, but the class hopes to top last year’s best-ever $14.7 million.

Graduation ceremonies are scheduled for 5 p.m. May 24 at Aloha Stadium. Mahalo to the students and teachers for the successes Mililani High School has enjoyed this year.

State Sen. Michelle Kidani represents District 18 (Mililani Town, most of Waipio Gentry, and Village Park, Royal Kunia and Waikele). Call her at 586-7100 at the state Capitol, Room 228 or email senkidani@capitol.hawaii.gov.