Question: I thought public schools didn’t have furloughs anymore since the Department of Education was given money from the Hurricane Relief Fund. But if you look at the calendar for the 2010-11 school year, there are six furlough days listed: July 29-30; Oct. 11, Dec. 17 and March 11 and 28. Why?
Answer: It is confusing to see the school days listed as "furloughs," but the bottom line is that students will not lose instructional days in the coming year.
First off, the furloughs refer to days that employees, including teachers, will not be paid, said department spokeswoman Sandra Goya. That’s why July 29 and 30 are listed, even though most public school students did not return to classes until Aug. 2.
The four other days were designated "non instructional" days for students — meaning days off — even before furloughs were instituted last year, Goya said. That’s why they don’t all fall on a Friday.
Goya said the department gave two calendars to the schools: one for employees and one for students.
The calendar for students show four "noninstructional" days: Oct. 11, Dec. 17 and March 11 and 28, while the one you refer to incorporates the employee calendar, which refer to those days as furloughs.
Hence, some confusion.
Before the furloughs, teachers would go to work on non instructional days and get paid, but "they’ve given up those days, so both teachers and students" now won’t be at school, Goya said.
Although students have been spared further furlough days, the Hurricane Relief Fund did not cover all the designated furloughs for teachers and employees for the 2010-11 school year. Depending on whether they work a 10-month or 12-month year, they still have to absorb six or 10 furloughs.
To view both the employee and school calendars, go to http://doe.k12.hi.us/calendars1011/index.htm.
Question: When I’ve called the Kaneohe Police Station to report a noise disturbance for very loud music from a neighbor, I’ve been told to call 911. Why? I called 911 and they transferred me to the non-emergency call line anyhow.
Answer: Basically, if any criminal activity or violation is happening at the moment, even if it is a non-emergency, "you should call 911," said Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Yu.
Although many people still believe 911 is reserved only for emergency calls and are reluctant to call that number for "minor" violations, that’s not how the system works in Honolulu.
"Honolulu’s 911 system is set up to handle emergencies and non-emergencies," Yu said.
When calling 911, callers first are asked if they want fire, police or ambulance. If it’s fire or ambulance, the call is immediately transferred.
If it’s police, the next question is "emergency or non-emergency?"
Obviously, emergency calls will receive priority over non-emergencies, Yu said.
At times, the line may be busy for non-emergency calls, "But I encourage people to stay on the line … otherwise, you’ll lose your place in line," she said.
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