Editor's Note: On Maui, Kihei Elementary School PTA leaders are working against resistance from the HSTA and the DoE to re-open their school on Furlough Fridays. Why would the union and bureaucracy oppose this plan? The best clue is at the end of the letter:
"While the children are in their usual routine the rest of us adults can figure out what to do with the budget."
The DoE and HSTA need to create as much chaos as possible in order to stampede the legislature into raising taxes and raiding special funds. They are working to stifle any discussion of the massive waste, fraud, and abuse contained within the DoE budget. By coming up with a way to keep school open on Fridays, the Kihei PTA is getting in the way of this DoE/HSTA political game.
Here is their plan:
Proposal for Keeping Hawaii Schools Open on Furlough Fridays
October 17, 2009
The furloughing of teachers on 17 instructional days per year makes things hard on the teachers, the parents and the students. Teachers lose income and face a reduced ability to help their students. The parents, many of whom have already paid the taxes for the schools, are now faced with finding or paying for additional instruction for their children while many do not have the time nor the money to do so. The students lose 17 instructional days a year and may be less prepared for the future as a result.
With the economy declining, government programs are being cut. There is plenty of extra bureaucracy in the Department of Education (DoE) that need to be cut before the classroom teachers ever have to furlough. Or teachers could furlough on non-instructional days.
It’s time for the parents and the community to step up and address this problem. Here’s how we can keep our classrooms open on furlough Fridays.
Plan: Staff the classrooms with screened community and parent volunteers supervised by a small number of retired or current teachers:
1. State volunteers are already commonplace in State programs. The State of Hawaii already frequently uses community volunteers in many State programs, including the schools. The legal mechanism and procedures for screening and accepting community volunteers for the schools are already established.
2. Supervision means no extra insurance needed. Volunteers can be supervised by a small number of retired or current teachers and/or administrators who know the schools. This will allow existing DoE insurance plans to cover the operation.
3. No extra ‘rent’ needed, the schools are public property. There is no need for the parents and community volunteers to “pay rent” to the DoE for volunteering to keep the schools open. The schools are public property and are already paid for by and belong to the parents and the community.
This plan can work right now. We have volunteer nonprofit community organizations who are ready to help coordinate this plan.
The idea is not to replace the teachers, they are valuable to us and we want them back.
We would like to run an educationally based program consisting of the extracurricular activities that the teachers no longer have time to teach. For example: P.E., ART, MUSIC,Career Days, etc.
The idea would be to have the students stay on campus, within their usual routine and instead of going off campus for field trips, bring the field trips to them. Have the Nature Center, the Whale Foundation, the MACC, MAPA, Sugar Museum, AYSO, Little League, Firefighters, Doctors, Nurses, etc. come to the school on those Furlough Fridays. The children are exposed to more of the extracurricular activities and experiences and the teachers have more time to teach Monday - Thursday.
While the children are in their usual routine the rest of us adults can figure out what to do with the budget.
Please contact me for information on how you can help volunteer your time, services or contacts in the community to make this happen for our children.
Kihei PTA President
Kiheipta@aol.com or 808-276-4116