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Senate approves bill to allow governor to appoint school board

By Mary Vorsino

LAST UPDATED: 12:41 p.m. HST, Jan 31, 2011

The full Senate unanimously approved a bill today that would allow the governor to appoint new Board of Education members without candidates first being vetted by an advisory council.

The bill now goes to the House, where a separate bill is being considered that calls for an advisory council.

State Sen. Jill Tokuda, chairwoman of the Education Committee, said she drafted the bill without the advisory council to ensure a clear line of accountability for the board's composition.

Speaking to members of the Senate yesterday, Tokuda said voters sent a "clear message" in November when they overwhelmingly supported getting rid of an elected BOE.

"Senate Bill 8 is our answer to that call, setting in place a process that gives the people of Hawaii the kind of direct accountability they asked for," Tokuda said. 

A new board cannot be picked until the process under which its members are appointed is approved.

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