The governor’s proposed budget calls for more than $24 million in “strategic investments” in the Department of Education. The add-ons would increase the department’s general-fund budget by less than 1 percent to $1.99 billion for next year.
“This budget clearly reflects our priority for public education here in the state,” Ige said.
The governor wants to boost per-pupil funding for public schools by $2 million through what’s known as the weighted student formula. The Board of Education had wanted a $10 million increase to the per-pupil funding method, which assigns “weights” to various student characteristics to help ensure funds go to schools with the greatest needs.
Ige also wants $1 million to expand the Early College program, which provides public school students an opportunity to earn college credit for free while satisfying high school diploma requirements. He’s also proposing a $2.8 million increase for the Hawaii Keiki school-based health services program.
Ige’s education budget would also:
For school facilities, Ige is proposing $150 million for DOE campus improvements statewide, including $60 million for the planned Pohukaina Elementary School in Kakaako. His budget would add $90 million on school building improvements, electrical and infrastructure improvements, removal of hazardous materials, converged network infrastructure improvements, structural improvements, playground equipment replacement or upgrade and whole school classroom renovations at schools across Hawaii.
Ige did not include a request from the state Public Charter School Commission for $6.2 million to help with charter school facilities.
For the Public Library System, Ige seeks to add 3 and a half full-time equivalent permanent positions and $1.1 million for staffing of the Nanakuli Public Library and Hawaii State Public Library System repair and maintenance and books and materials.
In higher education, Ige wants to put $700,000 toward the Hawaii Promise scholarship program that aims to provide a free community college education for needy University of Hawaii students.
The program, which launched earlier this year, is designed as a so-called last-dollar scholarship that kicks in after all other federal grants and private aid are exhausted. It was expected to help cover tuition costs for nearly 1,000 students this fall.
The governor also wants lawmakers to create 15 full-time positions and spend $1.2 million to support under-served regions and populations at UH Manoa and the community colleges.
Ige’s construction budget includes $120 million in projects for the University of Hawaii, including $20 million to renovate Sinclair Library at UH Manoa.
Overall, Ige’s budget proposal increases state spending next year by $85.5 million to a total of nearly $14.4 billion.
Ige has submitted his proposed supplemental budget to the state Legislature, which will make amendments to his proposal during the regular session that begins Jan. 17.
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