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Senate approves Horner for second Board of Education term

By Nanea Kalani

LAST UPDATED: 12:45 p.m. HST, Apr 23, 2014

The state Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to approve Gov. Neil Abercrombie's appointment of retired banker Don Horner to a second term on the state Board of Education.

Horner was one of Abercrombie's initial appointments to the volunteer board, after a 2011 constitutional amendment voters approved that did away with an elected school board. He is chairman of the board and its Audit Committee.

The Senate Education Committee had vetted Horner's nomination earlier this month and, following a three-hour public hearing, recommended his reappointment for a term through mid-2017.

At that hearing, Horner's nomination was met with opposition particularly from gay rights activists and atheist groups because of his position as a volunteer pastor for New Hope Diamond Head. He teaches a weekly Bible class.

Opponents criticized Horner for being affiliated with a church that opposed same-sex marriage and was one of several churches sued for allegedly shortchanging public schools on rental fees.

"Chair Horner reiterated that while he has never attempted to hide his religious affiliation, he made clear that he has never imposed it upon our school system through his position on the Board of Education or in board policy," Sen. Jill Tokuda, chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, told her colleagues ahead of the floor vote.

She also shared some of Horner's accomplishments as chairman of the school board, including implementation of a first-ever joint BOE-DOE strategic plan; a plan to ensure all schools are accredited within the next five years; increased accessibility to the board through stakeholder meetings, office hours and a hotline; and implementation of a new charter school law to increase performance and accountability of charter schools.

"I look forward to a second term because there is much more work to be done," Horner said after the 25-0 vote.

The vote simultaneously approved nine other gubernatorial nominees for various state boards and commissions, including Jim Williams to a second term on the Board of Education.

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NiteMarcher wrote:
This mans background deals with the "checks and balances" so desperately needed in the DOE system. This is a voluntary position, so taxpayers should be happy this man has stepped up to the plate without getting paid for his time.
on April 23,2014 | 02:04PM
iwanaknow wrote:
The challenge of leadership is criticism.
on April 23,2014 | 02:51PM
handsomeguy wrote:
Very few people do things unless there is some sort of compensation. I wonder what HIS agenda is...
on April 23,2014 | 03:44PM
Dawg wrote:
The man is worth over $30M and does not need an agenda. He could command a king's ransom for his skills. Be appreciative Hawaii.
on April 23,2014 | 04:29PM
skamitaki wrote:
he's a banker, not an educator. his agenda is to send students to business schools.
on April 23,2014 | 04:14PM
NiteMarcher wrote:
He doesn't have to be an educator since their are others on the board who already have that background. He is definitely an asset to the board where it concerns DOE budgeting and the spending of millions of our tax payers monies. Educators don't necessarily have business acumen, do they?
on April 23,2014 | 07:57PM
Dawg wrote:
Don, We need you at the UoH. Get rid of the Bozo's of Regents. Especially the talkers like JS.
on April 23,2014 | 04:30PM
Uncleart66 wrote:
Got Homer, what happen to Bart and Lisa?
on April 23,2014 | 07:12PM
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