For immediate release: September 14, 2018
Press release by:
Councilmember Riki Hokama
Resolution urging audit of State Department of Education to be introduced
WAILUKU, Hawaii – A resolution will be introduced at the Maui County Council’s Friday, Sept. 21 meeting urging the State Auditor to conduct a performance and fiscal audit of the Hawaii State Department of Education, Councilmember Riki Hokama announced today.
“Quality education for our keiki is of the utmost importance” said Hokama. “However, the proposed Constitutional amendment ballot question, authorized by the State Legislature, fails to evaluate efficiency and effectiveness within the Department of Education.”
The proposed resolution relates to the general election ballot question authorized by Senate Bill 2922 during the 2018 legislative session. The ballot question will ask voters, “Shall the legislature be authorized to establish, as provided by law, a surcharge on investment real property to be used to support public education?”
A majority of voters approving the ballot question would authorize an amendment to Article VIII, Section 3 of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii, which currently allows only the counties to exercise all functions, powers and duties relating to real property taxes.
“The collection of real property tax revenues by the state would strip the counties of funds used to provide core services such as fire, police, parks and emergency management” Hokama said.
“Taking these funds and autonomy away from the counties, especially without evaluating the department, sets a precedent for a lack of accountability.”
According to the resolution, counties also support education through funding afterschool activities, funding science, technology, engineering and mathematics (“STEM”) programs, providing grants to educational programs and non-profits, providing transportation for afterschool programs, and providing facilities for educational and athletic activities.
Residents may provide testimony at the council meeting or email written testimony to firstname.lastname@example.org. Review the resolution on the council meeting agenda at MauiCounty.us/agendas.