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Abercrombie won't restore school bus service

By Mary Vorsino

LAST UPDATED: 08:59 p.m. HST, Jul 03, 2012

Gov. Neil Abercrombie says he has no plans to step in to restore school bus service for nearly 2,400 students statewide, and called it irresponsible to suggest he do so.

“As governor I do not have unlimited authority to declare an emergency for any matter I choose,” Abercrombie wrote, in a letter Monday night to state Rep. K. Mark Takai (D, Newtown-Pearl City).

Takai had asked Abercrombie to use his “emergency powers” to address the cuts to student transportation.

Under a Department of Education plan for the coming school year, 103 routes serving 51 schools statewide will be affected by the reductions.

The route eliminations — along with route consolidations — will save about $5.5 million in the coming school year, the DOE said.

The cuts to student transportation will be discussed at a Board of Education meeting this afternoon.

Abercrombie said while he understands providing school bus service is an important issue, the question is whether it constitutes an emergency “at the level of a natural disaster.”

He pointed out that the Legislature knew the supplemental budget passed in the last session didn’t include enough money to ensure all bus service for general-education students would be retained.

Governor's response to Rep. Takai on school bus service Rep. Mark Takai's letter to the governor about Student Bus Service

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LanaUlulani wrote:

In other words the Democrat Regime in Hawai'i which includes Dictator Abercrombie funneled money to THEMSELVES and their allies instead of to the local kids which shows what and WHO they value. Obviously they do not value LOCAL CHILDREN. Aue.

on July 3,2012 | 09:48AM
beachbum11 wrote:
The dictator is a baldless wonder
on July 3,2012 | 09:51AM
drgtherocker wrote:
Oh please. "Dictator Abercrombie"? "Funneled money to THEMSELVES"? How much money? When? The Dictator in question was elected by popular vote. Abercrombie is a Democrat, not a Peronist. AUWE (Aue is a town in Germany).
on July 3,2012 | 04:41PM
RingRing wrote:
We need to get the republicans back in power here in the State then EVERYTHING will be just great. The school buses will be running, the sewers and water systems will all be fixed, the homeless will all have homes, the roads will never have potholes etc etc. . . Republicans seem to take care of all these things very quickly don't chya know?
on July 3,2012 | 08:03PM
Changalang wrote:
Good job Governor Abs ! People need to take some responsibility in their kid's education. Getting them to school should be the minimum. SPED kids exception of course.
on July 3,2012 | 09:52AM
walaau808 wrote:
Totally agree!
on July 3,2012 | 11:28AM
Bean808 wrote:
Yup. Good move Gov. - DOE needs to held accountable. DOE is a sink hole where millions upon millions gets poured in with no results. I agree with the Changster, people need to take some responsibility in their kids education and with the DOE.
on July 3,2012 | 12:43PM
SandBar wrote:
Yes! Put more cars on the road to help justify rail.
on July 3,2012 | 12:46PM
Changalang wrote:
Look at the areas cut. The Rail line will go nowhere near those areas.
on July 3,2012 | 02:47PM
chacha555 wrote:
why do all of you think this is because or rail. You want govt. to fund everything but don't want to pay higher taxes. Hey wake up man. they cannot use rail money for anything else but rail
on July 3,2012 | 08:27PM
dontbelieveinmyths wrote:
Then cut them all. Why are the "under performing" schools not cut also? Oh yeah, we want to punish the people who succeed and perpetuate the entitlement mentality.
on July 3,2012 | 01:08PM
Changalang wrote:
Two car households are more likely to hold education for the value that it gives, I suppose.
on July 3,2012 | 02:41PM
atilter wrote:
much to be said for that!!!
on July 3,2012 | 03:49PM
bumbucha wrote:
public education is supposed to be free and equal access / opportunity to all. having obstacles to attending school does not help the students. In the bigger piclure, it'll be easier not to go to school for some, leading to tax burdens to society, not to mention family hardships due to a lower socio-economical tier. Not everyone knows somebody so they have the in's on being a stevadore, post office, movie set employee, etc. it is just another example like screwing the Teachers, that there needs to be a change in the political leadership, we cannot have those who speak w/fork tongues. Cayetano, Lingle and now Abercombie, how the people elect these impersonators is beyond one's imagination. Is there not a candidate out there that will truly support the people! Poor school children, pawns for the puppets.
on July 3,2012 | 10:07AM
chief wrote:
Absolutely agree! One clown now wants to be mayor and the other a US Senator. They seem to think everyone has bad memories.
on July 3,2012 | 10:23AM
Manoa2 wrote:
If the State had the money, Abercrombie and the legislature (which did not allocate money for the bus service to begin with) would be right there keeping the buses going. Tax revenues are increasing, and by next session, there will be enough money to prudently restore bus service to all.
on July 3,2012 | 10:23AM
Steve96785 wrote:
I don;t know you, and I don't like to make assumptions, but if you resemble your name, perhaps you would have been helped by a bit more daily exercise by walking to and from school. The distances involved are manini, even if it is that famous uphill both ways route. At least they're not slogging through snow. In nearly twenty-five years of public education K-Grad school, I walked or bicycled all but one year, and snow was involved in at least fifteen of those years. Lucky live Hawaii!
on July 3,2012 | 11:50AM
walaau808 wrote:
How about walk to school like many of us had to?
on July 3,2012 | 11:56AM
tiki886 wrote:
There is no such thing as "free". That is the reason why the Hawaii State budget is always in trouble. "When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic." - Benjamin Franklin
on July 3,2012 | 04:41PM
oahuresident wrote:
When I was a kid, I walked to and from school every day from Kindergarten on. Kaimuki Intermediate school was a 1.5 mile walk over a steep hill both ways. My wife and I dropped off and picked up three kids over a 20 year period. I don't have any sympathy for the parents who can't find time to transport their own kids.
on July 3,2012 | 10:21AM
false wrote:
Walked that same hill from 6th avenue. Never was late for school either.
on July 3,2012 | 10:42AM
Changalang wrote:
Yup, the calories burned today will be the diabetes prevented tomorrow.
on July 3,2012 | 11:15AM
walaau808 wrote:
Heck yeah!
on July 3,2012 | 11:57AM
Senior_Researcher wrote:
Sorry, folks, but you all need to get over your addiction to spoon-fed services. We coddle our kids at almost everything they do and it's time for parents to start modeling some behavior for their children that is healthier and greener. Obesity, especially among kids, and fossil fuel emissions are a plague on the planet. Simply put, it's time to get back to walking, biking, etc. to school and to assume some personal responsibility for our health and the environment. Ooops! I sound like a Republican, even tho' I am a life long lefty, albeit never a member of any political party. That being said, he abruptness of this decision is pi$$-poor, giving parents/kids an excuse to avoid taking that responsibility and blame someone else for their addiction to subsidized laziness. DOE, DOT, and the counties need to ramp up the Safe Routes to School program pronto, cuz when this limited one year funding runs out, even more cuts will be imposed.
on July 3,2012 | 10:32AM
poidragon wrote:
Not always easy to do when both parents work 2 jobs to make ends meet!
on July 3,2012 | 12:58PM
walaau808 wrote:
Where there's a will, there's a way. We always find excuses why we cannot, instead of findings ways that we can!
on July 3,2012 | 03:39PM
medigogo wrote:
This cut is just right. The service is too expensive to the state. And it's just a small problem for most parents. I said this as a parent having two public middle school kids. Many folks are too spoiled. It's tough time, folks. So get tougher.
on July 3,2012 | 10:32AM
poidragon wrote:
The legislature is the one who dropped the ball on this issue, when they did not do any research into why the costs for the school bus services have escalated as they have! our problem is that we do not hold our elected officials accountable for their actions or inactions as state legislators, we just sit there and accept their lame excuses as to why nothing gets fixed or any problems resolved; while these same politicians continue to collect their full wages while doing less work than the average worker doing a 40 hour work week!
on July 3,2012 | 01:03PM
Mikilai wrote:
the legislature did not drop the ball, the actual cost per student to ride this bus is around $1500 per child. If at full price the DOE is only charging $200 imagine just imagine how much money they are coughing up. At this point there is no money, let them rebalance the budget and perhaps next school year might be different.
on July 3,2012 | 02:02PM
AhiPoke wrote:
I'm not a supporter, nor ever have been, of our governor but in this case I agree with him. Citizens, our government can't do everything for everyone. IMO, we have already started down the road that led the city of Sacramento, Ca to bankruptcy. In the near future if we don't start cutting government jobs and benefits we will be a bankrupt state. Don't believe it? Fine, you'll learn soon enough. And, if you think taxing the rich is the solution, wrong. First, the rich don't have enough money to solve the huge problems we have. Second, if this state starts raising taxes significantly, guess what, the rich will move. Unfortunately, no politician will tell us that out of fear that they will not be re-elected.
on July 3,2012 | 10:35AM
cramsmith wrote:
Why is there even any school bus service? I thought that is what DaBus was for? Students can buy discounted bus passes to get them to and from school work for me from Intermediate school all the way through UH.
on July 3,2012 | 10:37AM
poidragon wrote:
one would guess you never rode a bus in the early morning when school is in session or you would not be asking such a ludicrous question!
on July 3,2012 | 01:05PM
CriticalReader wrote:
I wonder if Rep. Takai would sign and observe a vow to forego any pork spending in his district to help the students?
on July 3,2012 | 10:47AM
walaau808 wrote:
Politicians...always have ulterior motives!
on July 3,2012 | 12:00PM
McCully wrote:
The state got money for the poor and homeless, but no money for the children.
on July 3,2012 | 10:48AM
Ripoff wrote:
Good job Neil. What a slap in the face to the keiki...I thought you stood by "all education"..atleast that's what you said during your campaign??? Lose $$$ Have fun eating your sandwich
on July 3,2012 | 10:51AM
busterb wrote:
But if the kids gotta walk to school, they might be late to get their free breakfast!
on July 3,2012 | 10:53AM
Hey busterb believe me it happens..I work @ a Elementary School..The kids who get it for free are always late!
on July 3,2012 | 04:59PM
daniwitz13 wrote:
Hell, I don't have unlimited authority, who do those kids think they are? When we say the child comes first, for the benefit of the Children, whatever is best for the Child and for the safety of the Child, we didn't really meant these Children, we only say things like that to get what we want. What part don't you understand? This is Politics for Pete's sake, give me a break. Not the Gov. exact words, but the point is the same. Pity.
on July 3,2012 | 11:09AM
CriticalReader wrote:
This is a time for the State Teachers to step up. Do they drive to school? Make a loop around the neighborhood and fill your cars with your students. If the kids need more time to get to school, start later, end later. Make the modifications necessary to accommodate the longer travel time for the keiki.
on July 3,2012 | 11:22AM
atilter wrote:
some may not agree to such a narrow view in your proposal. there are more parties more closely connected to the children than ALWAYS teachers (part of the govt). they should be more involved also - don't you think?
on July 3,2012 | 04:03PM
Steve96785 wrote:
You would be amazed at the paperwork required for a techer to legally give a ride to a student. Parent permission, Principal permission, insurance waivers. Drive around and pick up random kids? Some alert neighborhood watcher will have the cops on our butts faster than we can say "Hey kid try jogging to school so that we can save more money on PE teachers!"
on July 3,2012 | 06:02PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
This is what happens when you have a Board of Education that is appointed rather than elected. The Board is beholden to the Governor rather than the people. The school bus reduction was the Abercrombie administration's idea all along. You think Abercrombie is going to step in now?
on July 3,2012 | 11:24AM
stingray65 wrote:
Appointed means, they are in the governors pocket! Not by the people, for the people. Therefore, what the Governor's say go!! He is a one time governor..
on July 3,2012 | 11:44AM
dontbelieveinmyths wrote:
The selling point of everyone who voted to have an appointed board was that they were going to be more accountable. I said it then and I'll say it again. How are they going to be held accountable? How is the Gov accountable? Everybody loves to throw that "accountable" word around, but nobody really thinks it through.
on July 3,2012 | 08:38PM
agile wrote:
The old Abercrombie, from b/4 he became guv, would be screaming and jumping up and down to restore these cuts. He was an educator himself.
on July 3,2012 | 11:38AM
Steve96785 wrote:
For once, I actually agree with the little dictator. The public has had more than a year for input on this change, and only 2400 keiki are impacted out of nearly 180,000 in the system. However, the savings are just a drop in the bottomless bucket of DOE waste and mis-management and a full audit is surely called for. The calls for totally free service are irresponsible, and nonsensical. A free public education does not mean that there are no costs for shoes, books, pencils and pens and other personal supplies. Nor should it include full nanny-service door to door for your keiki. Let them walk. Walk with them if you live in an unsafe neighborhood. Maybe you can take back your local streets from whoever you feel is a danger. Just maybe the daily exercise will be enough to offset our lack of PE classes. It might even help keep mom and dad's tickers going for a while longer so they can be around to see their grandkids graduate.
on July 3,2012 | 11:46AM
Senior_Researcher wrote:
Typical Takai. This is about as much of an "emergency" as the soap shortage in the UH locker room showers.
on July 3,2012 | 11:50AM
kapoleidude1 wrote:
with public school being free...the least you can do is get your kid to school on your own! walk, bike, bus, car, whatevers....gotta make cuts, cant keep cuting pay from the teachers
on July 3,2012 | 12:02PM
tiki886 wrote:
There is no such thing as "free".
on July 3,2012 | 04:37PM
Kaneohe5 wrote:
just got to watch out for the stalkers now since they know they going be walking to school.
on July 3,2012 | 12:04PM
atilter wrote:
good idea to start taking personal responsibility for ones actions - whatever they may be - instead of always relying on govt to step in.
on July 3,2012 | 03:58PM
walaau808 wrote:
BOTTOM LINE: Drop them off, pick them up, arrange to carpool, ask relatives, make the kids walk, catch the city bus, etc. Why rely on government for basic needs? Parents, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to educate your children!
on July 3,2012 | 12:22PM
alohastephen wrote:
For every circumstance there are exceptions, but as a general rule, parents should choose a school within their own proximity or arrange for transportation on their own. Otherwise, how about free airfare so that my kids can commute from Maui to attend school in Honolulu? Where do we draw the line?
on July 3,2012 | 12:44PM
Steve96785 wrote:
Actually, that is about where the line is drawn. Your child has a right to attend just about any school in the state, if that school has a program or services that your home school [defined as the one they would normally attend, not a "homeschool"] does not, but you have to provide transportation. So even if you want your child to attend a different school on Maui, and if there is space, and your child wins a space by lottery, you still have to get them there on your own dime.
on July 3,2012 | 06:07PM
poidragon wrote:
Now Abercrombie's true colors are beginning to show, to the general public! He doesn't mind spending state finances on anything he wants to cover; but when it comes to keeping his promises about education, all we hear is excuses and denials! Why do we continue to support a democratic political party that does nothing to support the wishes of the people of the State of Hawaii? Elections are coming up, time to make a change for the better and show these dems that the people mean business!
on July 3,2012 | 12:54PM
tobyclairmont wrote:
The cut-back in school bus service is a serious problem for many, perhaps even a crises for some. An emergency it is not.
on July 3,2012 | 01:03PM
mokebla wrote:
I didn't vote for the guy, but his party did. That's why they have no pork at their luau's, it's all in their pockets. :-O!
on July 3,2012 | 01:47PM
issuesgal wrote:
Maybe the BOE could find it in their hearts to take a paycut from their 6-figure salaries to go towards helping the kids. Just a thought.
on July 3,2012 | 02:13PM
Senior_Researcher wrote:
Uh, hello sister, the Board serves WITHOUT compensation!
on July 3,2012 | 02:53PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
The Bus contractors are obviously ripping off the taxpayers and the DOE is helping them do it. Bus service has tripled in the last decade and the DOE doesn't question this??? Someone getting kickbacks I think. The DOE is like a bottomless pit, always wanting more, the Department performs poorly in just about every area but their costs continue to rise faster than anything else. Time for a major overhaul of the DOE starting with an AUDIT. They don't want taxpayers to know just how bad they really are!
on July 3,2012 | 03:08PM
Steve96785 wrote:
The contracts office of the DOE has never, ever, managed to sign a contract that is a good deal for the state. In the rare instances where there is a penalty clause for late delivery or bad workmanship, it is never enforced. Back when we first started buying computers, on the first day that a contract went into effect, you or I could walk into a computer store and purchase those same systems for 10% less than the DOE. By the end of the contract life [usually a year or more] the purchase price in the store was 30-50% less than the DOE price and we were forbidden to purchase from any source other than the contract. I created a special purchase for computers that the state did not have on their list, and the hoops they put that poor manufacturer through helped explain why every company tries to rip us off. I had to get the AG's permission not to require a five-year bond in excess of the total purchase price paid up front by the local computer builder. That company went on to be named one of the best in the state within a few years, but they never did business with the state again, for good reason.
on July 3,2012 | 06:13PM
BlueDolphin53 wrote:
Uncle Neil is correct in this instance........what, what happened???? Did I just pass out??? Ummmm.....well, yes.....he is correct here. Takai is clueless to even suggest that the gov. use his "emergency powers." They knew the budget didn't have the funds for it, yet they passed it. You wonder if it was in their plan all along to have Neil reinstitute the service. They could then claim fiscal conservation and let Neil take the heat for bringing it back.
on July 3,2012 | 03:30PM
PCWarrior wrote:
We suck. We have thousands and thousands of MILLIONS IN FACT BILLIONS of dollars for ridiculously stupid rail but we don't have two million to send our children to school on the bus. We suck. Big time.
on July 3,2012 | 03:33PM
atilter wrote:
on that - i have to agree!
on July 3,2012 | 03:56PM
atilter wrote:
i haven't agreed with many things govt has done but there comes a time when, all things being equal, personal accountability has to come into play instead of always relying on our govt to cover our butts. especially when things are tight for everyone - people should begin pulling their weight and being accountable for the decisions they make (or not) in their lives. relying on the govt has brought on this situation in which we are now mired. so calm down, pull up our collective pants and look for other workable solutions. it can be done if we work hard enough.
on July 3,2012 | 03:47PM
LAX2HNL wrote:
Even after debacles like this, we still keep on electing the same people. it's up to us to get these people out. we have only ourselves to blame.
on July 3,2012 | 04:08PM
tiki886 wrote:
"When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic." - Benjamin Franklin
on July 3,2012 | 04:43PM
CloudForest wrote:
This is exactly what the future holds for any city or state that doesn't know how to say NO to the public sector unions and their minions - the democratic machine. Together they create a situation where only they benefit and their entitlements eat all revenue streams leaving NOTHING for the people whom they are supposed to serve!!! What a shame and what a crime against the general population, in this case they create havoc for the children and working families.
on July 3,2012 | 04:44PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Irresponsible? Uh, Buffalo, New York is nine hours away. Please move.
on July 3,2012 | 06:54PM
localguy wrote:
To all those whining about bus cuts, try 1-800-CRY-WAAH. Get real people. Today's kids are spoiled beyond belief. Riding to and from school in air conditioned SUVs, no wonder we have obese kids with pre diabetes conditions. Kids in foreign countries, living under worse conditions than we do have no problem walking miles to school, just glad to have the education opportunity. Our kids will have to suck it up, ride their bike to school and heaven forbid, perhaps break a sweat and get wet in the rain, cold in the winter. Get over it and just get to school. Parents, get a life. Your kids may have to get up a little earlier and get home a little later but they will do fine. Quit hovering over them and let them get some real world experience. Give us a break!
on July 3,2012 | 07:19PM
Dechic wrote:
We don't have school buses in Australia - if you live within 1.8km (about 1.2 miles) of the school you are expected to walk (or you can pay for a bus pass at roughly half the general public cost of travel). Outside that distance students can apply for a free bus/rail pass to use on public transport. But there are large areeas of our Sydney that don't have public transport, and yes, then it's up to the parents to step up.
on July 3,2012 | 08:56PM
mikethenovice wrote:
As a BabyBoomer with no parents to take me school, I had to walk a mile, rain or shine. That was good conditioning for my mind to continue walking even today. No regrets to anyone. We will all have to wait until the economy improves before the bus service returns if the parents are not willing to foot the entire cost without help from the taxpayers.
on July 3,2012 | 09:54PM
localguy wrote:
When did Mel Gibson start posting his "Conspiracy Theory" blog here? Get real people, there are not predators hiding behind every tree, rock, and trash can. These are the same streets other kids call home. Give us a break.
on July 3,2012 | 11:13PM
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