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Lingle defends funds’ use

Gov. Linda Lingle is defending her decision not to use $35 million in federal economic stimulus funds to reduce school furloughs.

In a statement yesterday, Lingle said the money benefited public school students by aiding charter schools, science programs and after-school programs. She says it also helped Hawaii win a $75 million federal Race to the Top grant.

Lingle policy adviser Linda Smith said Tuesday that Lingle had committed the funds before furloughs became an issue.

The governor’s comments came a day after the chairwoman of the Legislative Federal Economic Stimulus Program Oversight Commission said Lingle’s decision may not have been the wisest.

The furloughs eliminated 17 instructional days during the 2009-2010 school year.


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