Rooted in Reason: Nurturing the Seeds of Liberty


The Lingle Vetoes: Part 1 by grassroothawaii
July 9, 2010, 11:49 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

By Carson Hensarling

On Tuesday, HB 444 topped the list of 29 bills vetoed by the Governor.  While, the controversial civil-unions bill stole headlines and just about everyone’s attention, there were still 28 other bills that made it onto Lingle’s veto list.  Two other notable vetoes were that of SB 2434 and HB 2377.  If passed both bills would have had large affects on Hawaii’s education system, specifically in regards to Board of Education accountability and Department of Education budget issues.

Let us take a closer look at SB 2434.  Had it not been vetoed, it would have repealed the salary caps of the superintendent of education, deputy superintendents, assistant superintendents, complex area superintendents and the state librarian.  For me, this bill poses three primary questions: 1) in midst of a budget crisis, would it not make sense to cut spending rather than increase it, 2) what exactly do the superintendents do that merit an increase in base pay and bonuses, 3) should trying to employ a ‘cream of the crop’ state librarian really be this much of a priority?  This was an extremely prudent veto by Lingle.  However, not everyone shares this sentiment.  BOE Chairman Garrett Toguchi argued that, Lingle’s decision puts students in jeopardy, as it inhibits the DOE’s ability “to attract and recruit highly qualified superintendents to lead our public schools.” http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/hawaiinews/20100707_Salary_cap_bill_among_29_rejected_by_Lingle.html

First off, news flashes for the BOE…if the controversial furlough Fridays were not a bleak enough reminder, we are in a budget crisis.  In case you are not following, what this means is, we must cut the budget not grow the budget.  Second, our students are in need of better facilities, well qualified teachers, and a reformed system, not the ability to ‘attract’ overqualified and overpaid administrative workers.  Third, we need to be focusing on other means of education reform, perhaps ones that do not involve an expensive recruitment program for a top level state librarian.

House Bill 2377 would have made it so that the members of the Board of Education had to be appointed by the Governor, nominated by a Board of Education Candidate Nomination Commission.  Currently, the members of the BOE are elected by the people.  While supporters of this bill argued that it improved BOE accountability, it would have taken away the people’s ability to keep the BOE accountable through elections.  Also, it would have increased the layers of bureaucracy and decreased government transparency.  This was another pivotal save by Governor Lingle.

Unfortunately, while, these bills appeared to be effective education reform, they brought no such reform.  But thankfully, due to the vetoes, we will not be taking two steps backwards on our road to reform.

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