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Legislative Off Season Still Offers Plenty Of Work

Sen. Michelle Kidani

First, let me offer congratulations to the 583 graduates in the Mililani High School Class of 2013! As the academic year closes this week, we wish you all a bright future.

The Class qualified for a record $12.4 million in scholarship grants, a true measure that MHS builds great foundations and provides the tools to create opportunities for success in the years ahead. We all share your pride in what you have accomplished and are grateful for the support of dedicated teachers, families and classmates.

In addition to student academic and athletic successes, we were very excited to learn about US News & World Report‘s selection of Mililani High School for the Bronze Medal, recognizing it as one of the 11 best high schools in the state of Hawaii. The magazine’s evaluation process included an analysis of math and reading proficiency scores, along with college-readiness performance. Based on Advanced Placement test scores, MHS is near the top of Hawaii’s schools that produce the best college-level achievement for the highest percentages of their students.

Our 2013 Hawaii legislative session ended three weeks ago, and I am pleased to report there are several items in the state’s budget that will have a positive impact on our communities. Here is a quick summary:

* Central Oahu (Waipio) Ambulance Facility: $3,850,000 for planning, design, construction and equipment

* Kunia Agricultural Park: $2,500,000 for design and construction

* Mililani Middle School: $300,000 for resur-facing the parking lot

* Mililani Waena Elementary School: $325,000 for installation and/or replacement of air conditioning equipment

* Kipapa Stream (Roosevelt) Bridge: $1,000,000 for rehabilitation or replacement

Also, the Legislature has been able to set aside some funding for nonprofit community organizations that provide valuable services to our neighborhoods. This year, we authorized a $100,000 grant for the Mililani Presbyterian Church Preschool for construction and expansion.

Even though our official working session has ended, preparations for the 2014 calendar already have begun.

Senate President Donna Mercado Kim has requested that the various committees identify issues and follow-up legislation that we can work on over the next few months before we convene again in January.

In addition, the legislative auditor will be working on several reports we have requested – such as the recently released examination of the lease program for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands – that raise concerns that may need our attention.

I heard from many of you on a number of issues over the last several months, and I always welcome your input on any of your concerns.

Contact me any time at SenKidani@Capitol.Hawa ii.gov or at my State Capitol office, Room 228, telephone 586-7100.