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School officials ask views of residents on spending

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The state Department of Education wants residents to give their opinions on whether fee-generating programs, such as athletics and summer school, should pay for themselves.

In a survey on its website, the department asks residents to identify their key education spending priorities and asks respondents whether revenue-generating programs, such as A+ after-school programs, summer school, athletics, adult education and school buses, should be supported only by fees.

Amid deep budget cuts, the department has struggled to cover costs for many programs whose fees do not cover the cost of all services.

To save about $12 million this school year, for example, the state eliminated 22 school bus routes on Oahu in areas with city bus service.

EDUCATION SURVEY

The state Department of Education wants people’s opinions on budget priorities. A survey has been posted at www.hawaiidoe.org.

The deadline to complete the survey is Tuesday.

The survey also asks respondents whether they are aware of recent department budget cuts.

James Brese, the department’s chief financial officer, said results of the survey will be incorporated into a budget presentation that the department will make to Board of Education members this month.

It is unclear, though, whether the survey will spur substantive changes to the department’s budget proposal.

Once the board approves the budget, it will go to the state Department of Budget and Finance and the governor, before heading to the Legislature.

The deadline to fill out the survey is Tuesday.

Brese said the survey is meant to help determine what the "public thinks we should be spending our budget on."

He added, "We’re wanting to raise awareness of our budget."

The department’s operating budget for fiscal year 2011 is expected to include $1.38 billion in general fund money, barring major cuts.

Garrett Toguchi, board chairman, said he is interested in seeing the survey results and getting information on what residents think should be the state’s priorities for education spending.

The department is "just trying to get the pulse of the community (and determine), Are they on the right track?" Toguchi said.

 

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