Give DOE some room to manage

I feel terrible for communities faced with losing public schools in the face of shrinking enrollment.

But I also feel for Department of Education officials who face endless battles to achieve the necessary efficiencies to improve public education in tight budget times.

Every dollar in the DOE budget has a constituency, and any effort to re-prioritize faces stiff resistance, draining time and energy that could be better used finding ways to enhance learning in the classroom.

The latest battleground is Kalihi, where the DOE is proposing to close Puuhale and Kalihi elementary schools, where enrollment has declined, and transfer students to nearby Kalihi Kai, Kalihi Uka and Kaewai, which have plenty of empty classroom space to accommodate more students.

The DOE says the consolidations will save more than $1.5 million a year, and a Board of Education committee is recommending public hearings to move the plan forward.

But it’s only the beginning of a long and likely bitter fight similar to those involving other school closings.

Shutting schools can be painful for communities, and the DOE should have to fully justify its proposals to the public.

But at the same time, the public has to recognize budget realities and demographic shifts. It’s simply not fair to keep accusing DOE of failing to make the most efficient use of its funding — and then constantly handcuff administrators in managing their resources.

If we hire managers to do a job, it’s only reasonable to give them a measure of latitude and benefit of the doubt.

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8 Comments on “Give DOE some room to manage”

  1. Richard Gozinya Says:

    Why must every case be unique? Why must every decision re-invent the wheel? Surely a set of criteria, mostly objective and quantitative, can be developed and deployed in matters such as school closings. The endless declarations that “yeah, but this situation is different” just leads to paralysis.

  2. Michael Says:

    Painful and costly we need an audit to justify all the spending of Tax Dollars. Where is the money going to? Pockets! lingle had money for certain issues but none for furlough Fridays? Spending is not right and WE Need An Audit. You cannot fill a dam with water without fixing the leaks. lingle proved it to be in Kauai.

    Less people working, less Taxes for State.
    Isn’t DOE like managers? Seems DOE cannot manage without money coming in. They are stuck on a budget that won’t budge. Governor Abercrombie wants to spend money to make money. Any business person knows this.

    In closing, many buildings just sit and collect dust. Who will maintain the grounds? Who pays the property tax of an unused school grounds? Tear them down and rebuild something else. All at whose expense? Hole in the dam is getting bigger. I also see a mass layoff of Teachers. More unemployed.
    Not helping people get jobs. One domino falls and the rest lined up will follow. Quicksand.

  3. ppcc Says:

    from Michael:
    “Where is the money going to”?

    For the DOE, a good portion of that money is going into DOE employee’s personal pockets. It was just in the news that some employee from Lehua Elementary in Pearl City pleaded guilty to stealing over $12,000 of taxpayer monies to buy herself a king size bed, big screen TV, wine, poke and beer, etc from Sams Club. She was NOT caught by the DOE or the school, rather she got greedy and Sams club reported the credit card going over the limit. Interesting I read about this in the Star Advertiser, but only now when I did an Internet search did a find the actual name of the person, Janel Echiberi, from a KITV online article. This should be front page news instead of getting buried and only obliquely referenced by the local media. As some other person mentioned this is probably only the TIP OF THE ICEBERG of the kind of theft, graft and corruption that goes on in the DOE. Of course these kinds of stories, in addition to Marion Higa’s scathing audit of the DOE contract and purchasing budget does not fit into Abercrombie’s talking point that the DOE does not need an audit, instead DOE needs more money to EXPAND such as creating another DOE department such as for education curriculum or some other BS reason. But that is the whole point, HSTA spent a whole lot of money to fund Aber’s campaign so the real TRUTH on how money is spent or stolen in the DOE is not made known to the public.

    People who are convicted of stealing from the DOE, State and City gov’t need to get their names plastered on the front page news and made lead story on TV news stations. Maybe only then will gov’t employees realize there might actually be real negative consequences from stealing taxpayer monies. Only a comprehensive DOE audit will be able to catch these employees who work in the DOE who are STEALING from taxpayers and the public school children. Eliminate the theft, graft and corruption in the DOE and student furloughs would have NEVER occurred.

    KITV online new story on Echiberi
    Just imagine that one lowly administrative services aide was to able steal over $12,000 of personal goods without getting caught by the DOE and at the far end of the corruption is probably the contractors who double /triple dip with DOE construction and other projects that were identified by Marion Higa. Without a full audit my guess of the extent of the theft and corruption in the DOE would easily total into the hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

  4. ppcc Says:

    I might add if the waste, graft and corruption was eliminated in the DOE there would be NO need to close Puuhale and Kalihi elementary schools give this would save DOE ONLY $1.5 million per year and that is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of DOE monies that are getting siphoned into employees or DOE contractor’s personal pockets.

  5. Michael Says:

    I already answered my own question. I learned never ask a question unless one knows the answer. I merely voice by observation and only google after each meal. I am lactose intolerant and cannot drink yahoo.

    ppcc, I think you need to read my comments between the lines and not just what you read.
    I sometimes comment as if talking to myself, except in this case talking aloud. Talking in riddles.
    You reply with what was already said. If you cannot understand, then you need to go back to the beginning of each blog written, for each of my comments is a continuation of what was already said and of past issues. Things do go in circles and eventually meet. Otherwise it just ends up or down a spiral to nowheres.
    Look at your hand with 4 fingers spread. How many fingers do you see?
    If you see only 4 you are missing what is beyond.
    I usually see 8. Watch Patch Adams.

    Poke and beer? Did you mean Poki? Like Pi Pe Li Ne? Had to take a poke at that pun.

  6. ppcc Says:


    To be honest, I am not really responding to you. I did not realize you were writing riddles over multiple threads but I have no desire to understand them. I did however need to pull out a quote to make my point relevant to the topic at hand. That is why I did the PS which made the issue of Abercrombie refusing to audit the DOE completely RELEVANT to the issue of closing Puuhale and Kalihi elementary schools.

  7. waialuahaole Says:

    David, what’s not fair is for the public to bear the burden of budget deficiencies when the DOE hasn’t had a fair, honest, INDEPENDENT accounting done of its expenditures. Estimates show that approx. $180-210M in waste/fraud exists in DOE spending, and hiring an independent firm to conduct this audit would well be worth the time and spending.

    But it also might uncover some favorite cash cows and watering holes frequented by higher-ups, so on second thought, yeah, let’s stick it to the public instead.

  8. Michael Says:

    “This is a decision that should not be made by one person sitting in her office or by members of the Majority Party behind closed doors in a legislative caucus, but by all the people of Hawaii behind the curtain of the voting booth.” lingle’s veto speech
    against HB444.

    As far as concerned lingle is still in office. What she says as I repeat will always haunt her.
    waialuahaole, lingle still has control till Governor Abercrombie officially takes over. The public has not voted for the last time yet in any issue, till lingle is out. It would up to Governor Abercrombie now to honor his campaign speech. All of what you say was done on lingle’s watch.

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