Apr 1972 Home   Newsletters

May 1972

June 1972

Those that Serve 1972-73
May Calendar
Announcements
Leaguers on Television
Dee's Notebook (Dee Lum)
Voters Service - New Faces of '72
Political Accountability Ratings - Hawaii's Congressmen?
Units I - Units II Planning Consensus
Schools... sos ...- - - ... sos
Time for Action: Human Resources
Charter Update
Congressional Reform Position
Welfare Strategy
It's up to You
Puzzled by the Plethora of Presidential Possibilities?
Something New on the Sehlves at Safeway
Report from the Committee on Expanding Membership
Legislative Log - April 1972

Legislative Log - April 1972

"BY WOMEN?!??!!"

the League debut in finance action

The Scene: Senate Education Committee Hearing room

Senator: May I ask who wrote this testimony for you?

Leaguer: Well, we've had a study committee ... and ...

Senator: By a Committee???? BY WOMEN?

(League ladies in the audience bristle.)

Senator: Don't misunderstand me, I'm amazed. This shows a deep understanding of the subject. Mr. Chairman, they have outlined the problems we are facing. It is good testimony, and I compliment you.

After the hearing the testimony became a best seller. Curriculum Specialists, Dr. Amioka, Supt. of Department of Education, Dr, Miyasato, Supt. of Honolulu District and DOE extras asked for copies and complimented the League on the testimony. The President of the Senate who had been auditing the hearing also expressed appreciation that some group had done such a good job on this vital area, and encouraged us to react to future Legislative budget proposals.

What created all this excitement? The testimony follows

TESTIMONY SR 46

March 28, 1972

My name is Suzanne Thornlike and I represent the League of Women Voters.

My testimony relates to SR 46 and is based on conclusions resulting from a study of public K-12 education conducted last year.

Our position on budget implementation calls for close adherence to the budget as passed, and calls on the Governor to follow established priorities. We are, of course, in the midst of a difficult fiscal period. But it appears the budget is being cut by the Governor without benefit of clear guidelines or priorities. In Legislative hearings we have witnessed uncertainty over the scope of programs because it is not known what money will be available. In addition the new teacher contract is reportedly going to require at least some internal juggling of positions and funds.

SR 46 refers to continuing "CURRENT EDUCATIONAL SERVICES." But for a long range solution to confusion such as we are witnessing at the present time, the League position on budget formulation looks for a more defined system of priority setting; one that would produce a more realistic evaluation of possibilities within the projected fiscal picture. We feel that if hard decisions are not made by the DOE, Board of Education and the Legislature when the budget is formulated, they will be made as the budget is reviewed by Budget and Finance or later as it is implemented.

This we feel, is a misplacement of responsibility and produces a system with no obvious priorities. Therefore, we support the suggestion (made in last year's Committee Report accompanying the budget and made again in the recently released report of the Interim Committee on PPB) that the Department of Budget and Finance provide the DOE with allocation ceilings to provide a realistic framework from which to begin its work.

Meantime, this year, in the absence of firm guidelines, the League thinks the DOE should provide the Legislature with program alternatives and an assessment of the cost items in the new teacher contract so they can give guidance to the administration under the altered fiscal picture.

We believe the public has the right to know which programs might be altered and to react to new proposals. Unfortunately, the lateness of the legislative calendar will probably preclude that opportunity.

SPONTANEOUS TESTIMONIAL FOR THE LEAGUE

The Legislature was in an uproar. Senate and House Judiciary Committee members were awaiting arrival of U.S. Attorney Fukuda, who had been subpoenaed to discuss his accusations that the Legislature was being influenced by underworld gambling interests.

Against this background, the House Education Committee proceeded with its business anyway, but on a much more informal basis than usual. House Committee members and student leaders discussed and fussed over corruption in student body elections. Frances McLeod, State Vice President interjected that election procedures is an area in which League expertise is recognized and that we would be glad to offer a workshop to high school groups is they desired. The representative of the Teacher Union (HSTA) spontaneously confirmed the League's expertise, telling of the invaluable aid. the League gave in the teacher contract ratification vote.

SENATORIAL ASIDE IN A HEARING OF THE SENATE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE:

"The League and I have often disagreed. When I tried to get an appointed School Board, they disagreed with me every night." (He was referring to our 1969 referendum victory. )


TO MEMBERS OF THE SIXTH STATE LEGISLATURE FROM: LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF HAWAII

SUBJECT: BOARD OF EDUCATION

Relating to the various bills dealing with the Board of Education, its apportionment, election, appointment, etc., and in anticipation that these proposals may go to Conference Committee, the League outlines its position on structure of education.

We believe many legislators interpreted our opposition to the 1970 ballot issues to mean the League would support only the status quo in educational structure; therefore we are anxious to have you understand our specific aims, which are;

  1. TO BRING THE SYSTEL CLOSE TO THE PEOPLE BY ALLOWING THEM TO ELECT --AT SOME LEVEL-- INDIVIDUALS WHOSE SPECIFIC JOB IS SCHOOL POLICY MAKING.

    We believe it is essential that tools be provided which assure public input at the local level. Under this aim the League would support:

    EITHER

    a. A reapportioned elected State Board of Education, for this should result in creating smaller Board Districts that could be represented more effectively

    OR

    b. A COMBINATION of elected Local Boards which would serve to

    decentralize policy making without setting up independent school districts, and a State Board of Education --either elected or appointed from names submitted by elected Local Board members.

    The Local Elected Boards should have powers such as: -

    hiring district personnel -

    implementing goals of State Board -

    required to hold public hearings -

    opportunity to tailor their schools to their communities within broad goals, standards, and budget set by State Board.

    The State Board of Education should be charged with: -

    setting broad goals for statewide system -

    developing statewide standards -

    developing budget -

    initiating research, development and evaluation methods

    This combination approach (b) is the best way to meet our goal of local input which is not adequately achieved by "Advisory groups.

  2. TO HAVE THE STRUCTURE OF THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM SPELLED OUT IN THE STATE CONSTITUTION.

    This assures the public they will be consulted before changes are made. Further, it emphasizes that of all State Departments, Education is a function of government with which the public feels more intimately and uniquely involved.

  3. TO HAVE A STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION SELECTED BY THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION, AND RESPONSIBLE TO THE BOARD.

  4. TO APPLY THE "ONE-NAN-ONE-VOTE" PRINCIPLE TO ELECTED STATE BOARD.

    In order to maintain a stable atmosphere if the State Board of Education is elected, we support placing its reapportionment under the jurisdiction of a reapportionment commission as provided in Article III, Section 4, Constitution of the State of Hawaii.

    While reapportionment is not a difficult factor in electing local Boards as referred to in our proposal #1.1o, it will be a continuing need on a statewide Board. It is desirable that an elected State Board of Education receive the .same :Constitutional provision for scrutiny as the House and Senate.


Apr 1972 Top   Home   Newsletters June 1972