Representative Mele Carroll Protects Small Schools
Among those options being deliberated upon to cut our state budget is the merging of small schools with larger ones. I support efforts to cut costs, but feel that our keiki have already suffered enough under Furlough Fridays; forcing young students from smaller schools to commute great distances in order to save money would compromise their educational standing. To deal with this important issue directly, I have introduced HB 2671, a bill that will exempt smaller schools in District 13 from the rules governing such measures in order to protect our keiki and to allow communities to decide what course of action would best suit their interests.
In introducing this bill, I would also like to commend the efforts of the teachers and administrators at Maunaloa Elementary for their consistently excellent service. Smaller class sizes have long proven to be effective in producing excellent students and I am in support of the measures Maunaloa Elementary has taken to ensure that that their students’ needs are met. These educators deserve to have the opportunity to continue their efforts and I hope that this bill will allow them to do so. I have also introduced HB 2974, which prohibits the closure of Maunaloa Elementary School.
I am also concerned that forcing students to commute would place an unnecessary strain on the outstanding staff at Kaunakakai Elementary School. As the largest elementary school on Moloka`i, Kaunakakai Elementary has always done its best with its resources and provided its keiki with the tools they need to succeed. Asking the teachers to take on more students would be unfair, and while I am sure they are capable of serving these keiki, I don’t see that there is a need to pose such a challenge to them.
The bottom line for me is that the state is obligated to provide each child with a quality education. Our keiki should be our top priority at all times, especially when there is a budget crisis. It is my hope that my fellow legislators and I will be able to collaborate on this matter and suggest alternative ways of cutting our budget that do not place at risk the most vulnerable members of our community.
I am also working to find creative solutions of promoting sustainable financing options for vital cultural and social programs, both on Moloka`i and in the state at large. I appreciate the community’s input on such measures and welcome everybody to have a voice in deciding what options would best serve our people in the present and the future.
Representative Mele Carroll