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Schools chosen for Abercrombie's free pre-kindergarten plan

By Nanea Kalani

LAST UPDATED: 03:51 p.m. HST, Jan 09, 2014

About 640 children from low-income families across the state will be eligible to enroll in free pre-kindergarten classes next year at 30 public school campuses that were announced this morning by the state's Executive Office on Early Learning and the Department of Education.

The plan is contingent on $4.5 million in state funding that the Legislature has yet to take up. 

The money would establish 32 classrooms offering free pre-kindergarten classes (public schools can't charge tuition) for children who qualify geographically and income wise. The income guidelines to qualify for free or reduced-price lunch will be used, meaning a family of four cannot earn more than $50,117 to qualify.

Half the schools would be on neighbor islands. The list of participating schools includes 15 on Oahu; one each on Maui, Molokai and Lanai; 10 on Hawaii island, and two on Kauai. The sites were announced at a press conference with Gov. Neil Abercrombie this morning at Princess Victoria Kaiulani Elementary in Kalihi, one of the Oahu schools expected to participate.

Officials said schools were chosen based on community needs, available facilities, Title 1 status (where 35 percent or more of students qualify for free or reduced lunch -- a key indicator of poverty), and support from principals.

The plan is part of Abercrombie's push for universal state-funded preschool. Hawaii is one of 11 states without public preschool.

"Our future plans for Hawaii's comprehensive early learning system involve both public and private preschools," Abercrombie said. "We have been waiting for this opportunity. This prekindergarten program, across DOE schools statewide, is part of the public portion of the early learning system."

At a budget briefing Monday, some lawmakers questioned the timing of announcing school sites before the Legislature has approved any funding. Abercrombie says he's confident lawmakers will make the investment. 

The 30 schools set to receive pre-kindergarten classes:

Kahaluu Elementary

Waiahole Elementary

Hauula Elementary

Linapuni Elementary

Hana High & Elementary

Lanai High & Elementary

Kaunakakai Elementary

Honokaa Elementary

Honaunau Elementary

Hookena Elementary

Konawaena Elementary

Keolu Elementary

Kailua Elementary

Kaiulani Elementary

Likelike Elementary

Eleele Elementary

Kekaha Elementary

Kau High & Pahala Elementary

Naalehu Elementary

Keaau Elementary

Mountain View Elementary

Keonepoko Elementary

Pahoa Elementary

Waialua Elementary

Nanaikapono Elementary

Nanakuli Elementary

Leihoku Elementary

Maili Elementary

Makaha Elementary

Waianae Elementary

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Winston wrote:
Is there any proof that this will be money well spent? I've read that Head Start programs' benefits are gone by 3rd grade. Is this any different? Would it be a waste of money?
on January 9,2014 | 09:11AM
hanamauka wrote:
Free? How about requiring parents/family to "give-back," perhaps by volunteering in some public service, even if just a few hours a month.
on January 9,2014 | 10:07AM
what wrote:
Agreed, it's not FREE. I'm a working fool paying all my taxes, so I will be paying for this. It's not free, and our government is in debt and can't afford this. Abercrombie is digging a deeper hole of debt for our future generations. Also, as pointed out, pre-kindergarten has been shown to not have long-lasting benefits and is nothing more than daycare.
on January 9,2014 | 10:30AM
serious wrote:
Read the other articles: EV is FREE, paid for by advertising. Now, I think, the Governor in his prudence will use advertising to pay for it. I can see the little critters running around with their Budweiser, Coke, Pizza Hut T-shirts. I think it's great. With 1/2 of our population on welfare, not paying taxes--great to get another expense. Let's bite the bullet and get a lottery in here and tax marijuana for a revenue source.
on January 9,2014 | 11:55AM
wiliki wrote:
It hasn't been pointed out that deficiencies persists until High School graduation and grow worse. This is a major reason that inequaloity is so unfair.
on January 9,2014 | 12:09PM
wiliki wrote:
No need for such token efforts when other parents are no mandated to do it. Parents who qualified struggle to survive and need to send their kids to these schools.
on January 9,2014 | 12:08PM
what wrote:
Parents (even struggling working parents) are the single most important factor in nurturing and educating their own children. Pre-K is no substitute.
on January 9,2014 | 12:14PM
wiliki wrote:
Baloney.... pre-school makes a big difference especially for parents without the time or the parenting skills.
on January 9,2014 | 01:14PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
You are describing daycare, not school.
on January 9,2014 | 02:10PM
Ronin006 wrote:
People without the time of the parenting skills should not have children.
on January 9,2014 | 08:52PM
wiliki wrote:
OTOH without head start the deficiencies persist until high school graduation. What are you trying to say?
on January 9,2014 | 12:05PM
what wrote:
I think it has more to do with parenting than a lack of Pre-K. There are a great majority of families where both mommy and daddy worked, and the kids never went to Pre-K, but they turn out fine.
on January 9,2014 | 12:42PM
wiliki wrote:
Exceptions to the rule I'm sure. The damage is there-- self-evident really-- for pre-school to address. Educators are not trying to make average kids excel in school with pre-school. Those who are sharp are expected to do well and continue to do so the longer they are in school. There's is no "advantage" that they get from pre-school for the bright kids.
on January 9,2014 | 01:13PM
Anonymous wrote:
There are also a lot of kids that start kindergarten as 'blank slate'. They don't know their alphabet, colors, animals, numbers, etc. They may turn out fine, but they start out school 'behind' and often have to repeat kindergarten because they arrive at the doorstep without any or very limited prior knowledge. There are also a lot of families where English is not spoken at home. There is no 'easy fix', but it's certainly a start in the right direction.
on January 9,2014 | 01:16PM
what wrote:
K-12 can fix that, it's up to the student and his her parents.
on January 9,2014 | 02:01PM
LRC wrote:
LEGISLATORS - don't approve it!!! Gov should've kept Junior Kindergarten for ALL 4 year olds. Instead he's displacing hundreds if not a thousand or two teachers and inconveniencing a ton of parents!
on January 9,2014 | 09:15AM
Lamscorp wrote:
Please do not say this is free in your headline. It's not. It cost money to run these programs and as Winston indicates it may be wasted money. Feels good, giving low income people "free things", but that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.
on January 9,2014 | 09:30AM
nalogirl wrote:
That's the problem, giving people free things on taxpayer's dime. when you sart giving them more and more free things they have no motivation to change. Make it uncomfortable then they will stop having babies.
on January 9,2014 | 09:38AM
lwandcah wrote:
Great idea; where in the heck are we getting the money?!?!? We have roads we can't maintain, water and sewer systems that are antiquated and need massive improvemets if not a complete rebuilding,a choo-choo train (which in and of itself is going to bankrupt the state) and we are going to throw more money at a DOE system that is alread over-funded under-achieving and poorly managed. Please legislators, do the right thing this time and don't just rubber stamp this the same way you have rubber stamped his other proposals very recently.
on January 9,2014 | 09:32AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
"Abercrombie unveils free preschool education plan"

Free?! Now thats more like Governor!

Oh, you mean free to the recipients.... You sure are generous with our money. You must really want that HSTA endorsement.

on January 9,2014 | 09:32AM
mcc wrote:
Public school teachers still have furlough days and they are spending money in other ways. The same goes for our crumbling infrastructure and they spend the money on a train. Fix what we have before starting new projects!
on January 9,2014 | 09:33AM
nalogirl wrote:
This is a waste of money 4.5 million to serve 640 kids! Just like our Health Connector 200 million and signed up about 2500 people/businesses. Abercrombie just wants to spend, spend , spned. Vote him out in November.
on January 9,2014 | 09:36AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Preferable to just to go to HMSA or Kaiser to sign up, or just sign up for Medicaid.
on January 9,2014 | 10:01AM
Hulakai1 wrote:
That's $70,312.50 each kid!
on January 9,2014 | 02:40PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Free means somewhere along the line there will be tuition and a condition was public schools cannot charge tuition. So does this mean that private preschools will be involved?

Hawaii is unique in that it is geographically isolated, which is advantageous and disadvantageous. We don't have much if at all violent crimes committed with guns (Deedy was an aberration as he is from the mainland), compared to some of the more violent areas of the lower 48 (or upper 48). We don't have capital punishment. We do have copper thieves. We have homeless, probably the most per capita in the USA, because of our relatively great temperate living quarters, with nights getting as low as only 66 degrees, as low as it will get, so homeless can survive outdoors.

So the question is, can we get more from preschool that will prevent children from growing up into a life of low income poverty, homelessness, and worst of all crime? It's all in the peer group relationships that we form as youngsters. I once worked for a company whose boss cussed every other word, and this boss even had a degree from UHM. I suppose preschool is supposed to help in keeping in check behavior that would become out of line later in life.

Although school is influential, the most influential are parents and friends. I hope this preschool solution works, especially in an election year, when we don't want to put the cart before the horse.

Some are set already not to reelect Governor Abercrombie, and it will be at least 40% that will vote for a Republican candidate considering the results from 2010. For a Republican to win Washington Place, that Republican must convince voters and especially in a debate, that Neil has not been proactive in solutions to our everyday needs, such as Laniakea Beach, Haleiwa Market and Armageddon on the town portion of H-1 now.

Seems like Neil has been more reactive and a little too late. The State's budget surplus is wonderful, except it is part of the worldwide economic recovery, and thus nothing that this Abercrombie Administration initiated.

One thing though, Neil I do believe you are a driven person and if you shave off your beard, I will vote for you. This is a very long commentary and I hope it will be approved. If not then I will try my best to not to be so long winded the next time.

Hauoli Makahiki Hou, from yours truly, Frank F. Fasi. p.s. Please don't raise taxes Neil, considering that you have your $844 million surplus.

on January 9,2014 | 09:56AM
gohawaii wrote:
When you think about this, it's discrimination! The successful being left out of a "free" program that they have actually paid for. And, they talk about reducing entitlements. DUH! All the democrats do is increase so called entitlements. Like extending unemployment benefits for almost forever. Any dummy can figure out that if you keep giving free money and stuff to people, they will just keep taking without any shame or ambition to work for it. Where is the pride and honor in America?
on January 9,2014 | 10:08AM
loquaciousone wrote:
NOTHING IS FREE! Someone has to pay it and it gonna be ME!
on January 9,2014 | 10:10AM
Matsu wrote:
"Free" ??? Not free to tax payers. ALL politicians must stop referring to gov't programs as free. We The People pay for these free programs. Politicians get their votes by offering these cool programs, the tax payers get the bill.
on January 9,2014 | 10:12AM
Kingbudd wrote:
Hey we get stuck paying the bill twice. Once in the form of taxes and next when we have to pay for our own children to attend preschool because we don't qualify for these programs that ONLY benefit the same people over and over again!
on January 9,2014 | 10:42AM
d1shima wrote:
"free"? SMH Yet another bone to the unions.
on January 9,2014 | 10:15AM
Buckykat wrote:
Guess the current indoctrination centers aren't 100% effective in turning out Democrat voters so we need to start even younger. Mmmm, Mmmmm, Mmmmmm,.. Barrack Hussein Obama.
on January 9,2014 | 10:23AM
lucky181 wrote:
What happens to the child whose parents earn $51,000 and live in one of those districts? Their tax dollars will support the "free" public preschool while they have to pay for their child to attend a private school.? I imagine there might be a lawyer interested in a situation like this.
on January 9,2014 | 10:38AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Hawaii as a State has one of the highest if not highest percentages of children attending Private Schools. So all is not lost. We need to realize that the "best of the best", or at least the "richest of the rich" send their children to Private Schools, therefore our Public Schools get the portion of the Bell curve that consists of say 75% of the remaining portion of our keiki, if we postulate that 25% are the "best of the best" and can afford to attend Private Schools, whether they attend Private Schools on scholarships or not.

Hence, in summary and in conclusion: Public Schools in our State educate those who are not "smart enough" to get into Private Schools, and the few who are not "rich enough" to send their children to Private Schools. Children are all different though as just because a student graduated from a prestigious Private School, we don't always get the expected result of their becoming President and CEO of Bank of Hawaii. Those from Private Schools still may get into trouble with the law, get into trouble with drugs and all that. Public Schools also have their gems, such as Governor Cayetano. So it's the person, not the school they attended, which is the defining factor, although Harvard, Stanford, and Punahou sounds better on their resume, rather than UCLA and Farrington. Good luck all Keiki, as Hawaii will be dependent on your leadership skills in the year 2122, which is 108 years from now, and with all the research in medicine, maybe HSA will survive until then.

on January 9,2014 | 11:56AM
Kingbudd wrote:
ONLY 640 children? What about the rest of our keiki... So the tax payer continues to be burdened with people that can't afford to have children. I'm sorry but if you are going to create a policy like this then cover every child, not just the few that receive every tax break and state and federal support/funding. We continue to support people that should not have children and a lifestyle that continues for generations.
on January 9,2014 | 10:39AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Maybe we need to start school from age 4 or 3 instead of 5. Some of us skip grades, some of us are held back grades. How smart were you Neil? Did you skip a grade and save The Great State
on January 9,2014 | 01:36PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
of New Y
on January 9,2014 | 01:37PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Shifty thumbs when one types too fast with this iPhone 5S. If I press done then submit accidentally, you guys get half the picture, same as what some HSA writers do lol.
on January 9,2014 | 01:45PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
of New York $24 when you graduated in 1956? Or were you dyslexic so that you had to attend that American Studies class at UH over and over again because you wanted to get to know President Obama's mother? We all write fiction Neil, however don't make public policy fiction. Public policy has to be facts. You know like Sergeant Friday of Dragnet? Give me the facts, just the facts.
on January 9,2014 | 01:42PM
CloudForest wrote:
Basic theft - take from those whom earn it and buy votes from those whom didn't. Classic (D) strategy. Seems to work every time in communist Hawaii.
on January 9,2014 | 10:53AM
Kingbudd wrote:
Unfortunately, the same people continue to vote for (D's) over and over again.
on January 9,2014 | 11:05AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Yah because our State (and especially our Government) is controlled by Unions. HSTA, HGEA, UPW, SHOPO, ABC, M O U S E !!
on January 9,2014 | 11:08AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
E L E C T I O N Y E A R.
on January 9,2014 | 11:06AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Sorry I pressed submit too early.
on January 9,2014 | 10:53AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Almost all comments mentioned "Free" in this forum. Only people receiving "free" goods and services are minors until the age of 15, when they probably would start working. Other "Free" people are the billions of our descendants who are now looking down upon us from above and two people, as far as I know offhand, who are looking up at us: Adolph Hitler and Osama bin Laden.
on January 9,2014 | 10:58AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
By the way does the person who liked HSA as the first ever liker get an all expense paid trip to Kapolei? I liked HSA when it had 135,000 likers and now it has 228,000 likers. Just yesterday I seen the vehicle that had "Combat Veteran" 1 as it's license plate, so yes the first one of its kind is always interesting, just like the first chimpanzee in our long line of descendants back into the far reaches of our minds when iPhones in Steve Jobs' mind never existed.
on January 9,2014 | 11:04AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
While I'm on a roll, beware of the banning of the plastic bags (they're called T-Shirt bags in the industry, of which KYD is a major manufacturer in Kalihi in our State). If plastic bags are banned on Oahu, look for retail sales to take a dip because people would not be able to buy a l
on January 9,2014 | 11:15AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
.... a lot of goods at stores if plastic bags were banned. Many who go holoholo on TheBus and go to Holiday Mart, er Don Quixote, buy things that need to be carried in a bag. Hence receipts from the 4.7166666666666666666666666% tax will not be collected for TheTrain. Get on it Captain Kirk and Admiral Abercrombie!!!!
on January 9,2014 | 11:23AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Choose the school before the project is approved and the money approved? Who you kidding? This is so Neil can get all the freebie folk to join in to support his plan for free babysitting.

Eh, it's not FREE, guys. Somebody is paying and that is you and me...not the folks at the 30 schools who should be taking care of their own children.

I propose a new campaign year slogan: "Neil's gotta go."

on January 9,2014 | 11:11AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Hey you got four of a kind, your time stamp was at 11:11AM !!!! Good going man!!! By the way how did you make bold only "Neil's gotta go." Did you use something like P for plain text? P is for paragraphs, so what did you do? Arigato gozaimasu.
on January 9,2014 | 11:20AM
Lorenz wrote:
when this article says next year - does this mean next school year starting July 2014 or next year 2015? any one know?
on January 9,2014 | 11:32AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Nanea will find out for us.
on January 9,2014 | 12:00PM
ka_iwa wrote:
How many of these 640 keiki are Micronesian? Chukese? Palauan? Marshallese? etc. You get my drift ah gangy?
on January 9,2014 | 11:41AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
on January 9,2014 | 12:00PM
Bdpapa wrote:
Too Many!
on January 9,2014 | 01:30PM
Mahalo wrote:
The problem is all these families LIE!!! moms or dads work side construction and get paid good cash yet they don't claim it.
on January 9,2014 | 11:58AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Nui Loa
on January 9,2014 | 12:01PM
wiliki wrote:
Great news.... this governor is on the ball....
on January 9,2014 | 12:03PM
palani wrote:
Just call Neil the mini-Obama, for his blatant tyrannical, undemocratic method of governance.
on January 9,2014 | 12:07PM
Manoahillside wrote:
Free for them, and we have to pay for their child care and meals. You can really tell this is an election year!!
on January 9,2014 | 12:23PM
Kingbudd wrote:
Maybe they won't use it since it's free. They obviously don't use the FREE birth control they can get at the clinic, thanks to all the other FREE benefits they receive!
on January 9,2014 | 12:32PM
iwanaknow wrote:
Do the math, 640 divided into 4.5 million dollars equals about $7,000 per kid per year..............identify those 640 then how about giving 1/2 or a 1/3 of that amount as a one time scholarship if they graduate from a local high school?.........................dangle the carrot?
on January 9,2014 | 12:37PM
RaiderNation wrote:
I wouldn't promise them anything. If they work hard and do well, they'll get scholarships and/or grants.
on January 9,2014 | 12:47PM
Bdpapa wrote:
Not entirely true! Grants and Scholarships are very hard to get. It is hard work and having the know how to attain them. I've been thru this process and got nothing for my children. They had good grades and worked hard but I made too much money because I had to work 2 jobs to send them to private school. No win situation.
on January 9,2014 | 01:34PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
You won, your keiki went to Private Schools. Most cannot get into Private Schools. Have to have the goods in the brains.
on January 9,2014 | 01:56PM
RaiderNation wrote:
I agree that early childhood education is essential. I just don't think I should pay for it. I already paid for my own kids to go to preschool. If you can't afford kids, don't have them.
on January 9,2014 | 12:41PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Iolani, Kahuku or Oakland?
on January 9,2014 | 01:31PM
HOSSANA wrote:
on January 9,2014 | 08:08PM
tutulois wrote:
Good list -- these are the schools that will likely need this the most for their young children !
on January 9,2014 | 01:28PM
bully106 wrote:
selection of schools totally off kilter! not fair. no central island school but 4 on the leeward coast. none in the kapolei/makakilo area. if preschool is to be provided it should be statewide or none at all... use the money to improve the existing infrastructure.
on January 9,2014 | 01:39PM
CEI wrote:
"The plan is contingent on $4.5 million in state funding that the Legislature has yet to take up" Quoted from the article. Well, democrat girls and boys what is another term for "State Funding" ?? Answer is: Taxpayer funding. Where do taxpayer funds come from? Answer: People and business that pay taxes. So the program is not free as the writer would have you believe.
on January 9,2014 | 02:48PM
poidogjohn wrote:
My wife and I worked very hard to afford pre-school for our kids. Many other parents do so, as well. Quit depending on all the hard-working taxpayers to pay for other irresponsible people's choice to keep having kids WHEN THEY KNOW THEY CAN'T AFFORD THEIR SCHOOLING!
on January 9,2014 | 04:24PM
HOSSANA wrote:
You are so right!!!
on January 9,2014 | 08:06PM
BigE wrote:
Land of the free,,,,,typical Democratic way. Nothing but more government handouts, wasteful spending and intervention.
on January 9,2014 | 06:12PM
HOSSANA wrote:
You are so right!!!
on January 9,2014 | 08:06PM
HOSSANA wrote:
Parents should take responsibility in their child's education. Why do these low income parents have kids and can't support them. Why should my tax dollars, and, believe, me, I pay mucho taxes, go to pay for someone's kids. Sick of these liberal retards coming up with all these programs and then funding it with tax dollars e.g. Head Start, Afterschool Programs, and the list goes on and on with no improvement in child discipline or education...where are the !@#$ parents that take advantage and allow the state to pay for these idiots.....now they want to use public monies to subsidize private day care schools, also...
on January 9,2014 | 08:05PM
HOSSANA wrote:
Comment has been sent for approval....absurb!! my second comment is like the first comment...a waste of tax dollars where parents take no damm responsibility for their own kids.
on January 9,2014 | 08:05PM
Kuokoa wrote:
Wait a minute! Pre-school for 640 under-previledged children costs more than the pre-kindergarten for 5000 children? Oh yeah, and the pre-kinderten is being cut? Go figga! This governor and most of this State's government is stupid and corrupt!
on January 9,2014 | 10:05PM
MakikiView wrote:
This is great news for our keiki, at least a good start. I'm with the governor on this one. This is one area where we can catch up and surpass other states. I guess all the haters on here prefer mediocrity for our kids -- yes, let's make sure our students start off behind...
on January 10,2014 | 05:34AM
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