Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle ended the state’s school furloughs last month, grabbing hold of a serendipitous deal that involves a $10 million loan from local banks and that forced no one to give ground.
The accord eliminates 17 furlough days that were scheduled for the 2010-11 school year. Hawaii’s more than 170,000 public school students already lost 17 instructional days to furloughs this year, giving the state the shortest academic year in the United States.
The agreement, reached late last month, caps weeks of acrimony, including a days-long sit-in by parents at Gov. Lingle’s office.
Under the agreement, the governor will release $57.2 million to the state school system from a special state hurricane relief fund; teachers will hold classes on six of the 11 noninstructional days their labor contract previously required; and the governor will direct $2.2 million in federal economic-stimulus funds to 31 charter schools.
The key to the deal is a $10 million interest-free loan that First Hawaiian Bank, the Bank of Hawaii, and possibly other local banks will provide the state. The bank solution spanned what had become hardened positions on the amount of state funds to release.
While the furlough controversy appears resolved, state schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi warned: “We’re still going to be facing restrictions, people, so don’t get your hopes up too high. We still have a lot of challenges ahead.”
A version of this article appeared in the June 09, 2010 edition of Education Week as Banks, Loans, Hurricane Fund To End Furloughs in Hawaii