YES to Kids and Educating the Whole Child

How will your tax dollars be used? That’s what state lawmakers will decide as they gear up for a new legislative session.

And some past issues will be back at the State Capitol.

Even though the session is two weeks away, lawmakers are already tackling the governor’s budget proposal, among other issues.

Corey Rosenlee

And Hawaii State Teachers Association president Corey Rosenlee is getting ready to convince lawmakers to spend more on our children’s future.

“If you look at how much it costs to educate a child, both by comparing it to the mainland and comparing it to private schools in Hawaii, we spend about $7,000 less,” he said.

More money would help with better facilities, as well as pay for teachers. The HSTA will present a broad package to cover it all, and is asking for a one percent increase in the general excise tax to pay for it.

Rosenlee said “we’re offering things on how to educate children, such as teaching to the whole child rather than teaching as a test, bringing back vocational education, and supporting special education.”

The issue of homelessness will also return to the Capitol — Governor Ige is asking for money for outreach and other programs.

KHON2 spoke to officials from the Institute for Human Services and they said, aside from shelter and housing, they will be asking for help to prevent homelessness, which includes a focus on mental health care.

Besides ongoing issues like education and homelessness, there’s one that’s already gaining attention, and that is the governor’s budget proposal.

This week, state departments are informing lawmakers about their needs. Senators and representatives asked the Attorney General Tuesday about spending on numerous vacant positions.

Sen. Jill Tokuda, who chairs the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said “these are all funded positions and they’re positions that we found, out of 127 positions, are at least four years old. There are some questions as to whether or not you need to redefine them.”

Opening day at the State capitol is Wednesday, January 20, and KHON2 will be there and cover the issues throughout the session, which runs until May.

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