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Public schools to share final SOS payment

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Forty-four Hawaii public high school sports programs will share in the $615,545 final installment of "Save Our Sports" funds this week and few beneficiaries will be more appreciative than hard-pressed schools on Kauai.

As if the economy and declining state allocations weren’t challenging enough, Kauai Interscholastic Federation teams were additionally impacted by the move of football games off the traditional Friday nights last season.

Because the lights were deemed to have disoriented a protected species of bird, Newell’s shearwater, most games were moved to Saturday afternoons, resulting in smaller crowds, officials said.

Waimea athletic director Jon Kobayashi said the move cut concession revenue, which schools depend on to underwrite their sports.

"Our income comes from the food booths and they were off, I’d say, maybe by a third (from 2009)."

Keith Amemiya, who began the SOS program two years ago when he was head of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association, said several individuals "have agreed to assist me in raising funds to make up for the $15,000 additional shortfall that the three schools suffered this past football season."

Amemiya said Ken Sakihama, owner of The Plumbing Source, and former UH athletic director Hugh Yoshida, a Kauai native, will underwrite much of it. In addition, Amemiya and his wife, Bonny, will donate $1,000 to each of the three Kauai schools.

Furthermore, Amemiya said, the GIFT Foundation will donate an additional $2,500 each to high schools on Lanai and Molokai. The GIFT Foundation’s board members include Bank of Hawaii president Peter Ho and BlackSand Capital’s BJ Kobayashi.

SOS raised approximately $1.4 million in public and private contributions, nearly $800,000 of which was distributed to schools last year.

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