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Rally to keep students at school

By Staff | Oct 22, 2009

LAHAINA — Join Ramon K. Madden in front of Lahaina Cannery Mall along Honoapiilani Highway on Friday, Oct. 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in a peaceful public plea to “Keep the Kids in the Classrooms on Furlough Fridays.”

Madden said, “In Hawaii, the Department of Education has to cut $468 million over the next two years. The Hawaii State Teachers Association has agreed (by 81 percent) to the creation of Furlough Fridays rather than accept layoffs. This means 256 schools will reduce the year to 163 days instead of 180, affecting more than 170,800 students and 13,000 public school teachers.”

Hawaii ranks near the top of states on spending per student, yet one of the lowest states in regard to a quality education, he noted. “We cannot even meet the extremely low standards we have set for ourselves,” the concerned parent of a middle school student added.

Options are available.   

“Any group may rent school facilities on Furlough Fridays. According to the state… the costs vary, but in general a classroom would cost about $20 an hour to rent. Alternatively, we could utilize our county park facilities similar to the Summer Fun program, at a cost of as little as $5 to $10 per child per furlough day,” Madden said.

“To do this,” he continued, “we will need to provide statewide coordination of community volunteers to serve as skeleton staffing at public schools on furlough days without additional cost to the parents, and also provide statewide coordination of private fund-raising to offset school fund losses.”

Madden encouraged other parents, teachers and concerned members of the public to join him on Oct. 23.