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Senate approves school land development

By Anita Hofschneider

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:18 a.m. HST, Mar 06, 2013

The state Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that seeks to raise state revenue by developing public school lands.

The proposal contends developing underutilized school lands can provide needed funds to improve public school infrastructure. The House passed a similar measure Tuesday night.

The Senate proposal says the existing educational system "traps information-age students in agricultural-age schools" and that developing just 10 parcels of school land could bring in more than $100 million.

Majority Whip Jill Tokuda, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Education, said the bill is necessary because the state will never catch up with school infrastructure needs by relying only on general funds.

But critics are wary of what they see as another attempt to gain revenue at the expense of local communities.

Some say the proposal is just an offshoot of the highly criticized state public land development agency. The House and Senate recently voted to dismantle the corporation amid strong community opposition to the agency.

But Tokuda says the proposal takes a cautious approach by limiting development to a three-year pilot project and taking community input into account.

Sen. Sam Slom and Sen. Laura Thielen voted with reservations for the bill. Thielen said the bill should include provisions governing the long-term leasing of public lands.

Sen. Josh Green and Sen. Brian Taniguchi voted against the measure.

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allie wrote:
good..we need the revenue to improve schools. Develop the often unused properties.
on March 6,2013 | 06:30AM
thevisitor967 wrote:
Maybe they can use the money to put air conditioning in the hot classrooms.
on March 6,2013 | 08:19AM
Charliegrunt wrote:
Good calls by Senators Slom and Thielen. Proceed with caution. The City Council and state continue to approve new housing developments, and the population continues to increase. Should school needs expand, and the property now available is sold, what are they going to do? An excellent example of why we distrust both of these legislative bodies is UH-West Oahu. It was built to serve the people of West Oahu and relieve the traffic going to UH-Manoa. Then, the City comes along with the choo choo train to Ala Moana Shopping Center costing well over $!.5B. Before the train is built, they find that UH-West Oahu does not have the facilities to meet the demands of applicants wishing to enroll. Their answer, sell the adjacent land. So, many of us voters ask whether the majority voted for a bunch of stupid or crooked people, or both, and how many in each group.
on March 6,2013 | 06:53AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
...developing just 10 parcels of school land could bring in more than $100 million...

Just think of the scale of development that is being discussed! Each property brings in $10 million! That is a huge scale of operation and guess what....it can be done with waivers and exemptions from the rules and regulations that now protect public land from cozy insider developer deals.

PLDC-LITE is revealed to be pretty much just a re-packaged PLDC. This needs to be stopped once and for all. Did you have a chance to add your mana'o to this idea...no, of course not....once again the politi-weasels are trying to slip a bad, bad thing right by you.

No to PLDC. No to PLDC-LITE.

on March 6,2013 | 06:57AM
Allenk wrote:
I wonder what types of development can be done in such close proximity to a school? I guess we have some schools where enrollment has dropped due to an aging surrounding population and the impact to instruction would be minimal. I also have observed that schools usually have playgrounds or open fields adjacent to their buildings - would these be the intended development zones?
on March 6,2013 | 11:36AM
Anonymous wrote:
The State doesn't have any people who know how to do this. They will probably have to hire mainland consultants who will strip away all the money the State intended to make.
on March 6,2013 | 06:22PM
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