Friday, November 27, 2015         

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Aiona calls for Education Department audit

By Mary Vorsino


Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona called yesterday for a "comprehensive, independent" audit of the state Department of Education and said if elected governor he would make sure schools get 90 cents out of every dollar that goes to the department.

"It's easier to build strong children than it is to fix a broken adult," said Republican Aiona at a news conference at his Nimitz Highway campaign headquarters.

The lieutenant governor said there has not been an independent audit of department since 1973.

Aiona outlined other areas of his education policy: encouraging principals to become the "chief education officers" of their schools and giving them the ability to hire and fire teachers; overseeing "effective restructuring" of the public school system, after getting input from voters and educators; and negotiating a new teacher evaluation system that "recognizes performance."

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie talked in April about his plan for education, saying he would decentralize the state's education system. Yesterday his campaign spokeswoman said Abercrombie's top priority remains education.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann, another Democrat running for governor, has said the educational system does not need restructuring, but said he would work "collaboratively with the superintendent."

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