Mililani School Bus Cuts Temporarily Delayed

Sen. Michelle Kidani

Sen. Michelle Kidani

By now, students at all four Oahu schools on multi-track schedules – including Mililani Middle School – are back in their classrooms.

Cuts to school bus service for Mililani students were announced last week, leaving families just a few days to plan for changes, and, in some situations, placing students at risk in making their way to school.

I contacted schools superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi requesting that existing bus services be extended for all multi-track schools through the end of July to give families more time to come up with transportation alternatives. I took my appeal to the Board of Education meeting the next day, and they agreed to delay the announced cuts until July 30. I begged the BOE to also not cut service for 98 students attending Waikele Elementary who would have to cross a freeway during their one-mile trek to school.

Additional changes were made to the planned cuts that will assure that students in Mililani will not have to cross the freeway in either direction to get to the high school or middle school. Middle school students living in Mililani Town as well as Mililani High School students living in Mauka still will have access to bus service.

Please check your school’s website for details on revised schedules.

Early Ed. Priority

Research makes it clear that youngsters who get a good early education have a better chance for success through the rest of their school years. Thanks to new legislation, Hawaii’s early learning programs are about to undergo a reorganization that will create a universal network of child care and preschool support for every 4-year-old in the state.

That process has begun with the approval of Senate Bill 2545 that we worked on in the Senate Committee on Education. A “junior kindergarten” program has been offered, but that will be replaced beginning in the 2014 school year with the kind of pre-school requirement currently operating in the vast majority of states. The new law elevates coordination of early learning programs to a cabinet level agency in the governor’s office. Over the next few months, a detailed implementation program and budget will be prepared for the Education Committee, and we expect to hold extensive hearings on the plan through the 2013 session.

A Year-round Job

Although the Legislature “officially” meets for 60 working days spread over parts of five calendar months, our work continues between sessions.

Late last month, Central Oahu lawmakers met with area residents to talk about this year’s legislative session.

We were heartened by the turnout for the Town Hall gathering – and, yes, we do acknowledge that many of our friends and neighbors were drawn by our guest speakers, UH head football coach Norm Chow and several of his fellow coaches from other UH teams. That kind of talk-story time is invaluable to learn about what’s on your minds and hear your suggestions about how state government can improve services and support your aspirations.

Call state Sen. Michelle Kidani at 586-7100 or email her at