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DOE plans to cut student funding and slash programs

    Campbell High School teacher Mark Buelow works with students in an inclusion freshman science class at Campbell High School. Buelow is one of 16 "co-teachers" in Campbell's model special-education inclusion program

The Department of Education is proposing to tackle $32.8 million in budget reductions over the next two fiscal years by cutting the per-pupil funding schools receive by nearly $8 million and slashing several programs.

DOE officials will present their budget plans this morning at a Board of Education committee meeting.

In a memo to the board, schools Superintendent Kathy Matayoshi said the department plans to:

>> Reduce funds allocated to schools through the weighted student formula by $7.8 million;

>> Eliminate general fund appropriations for the adult education program, school community councils and the accreditation/school improvement program;

>> Move certain categorical programs into the weighted student formula, essentially giving schools leeway to decide whether they should continue to get funding. Those programs include popular learning centers for the arts and sciences;

>> Reduce the non-salary budget for the Lahainaluna boarding program by 10 percent;

>> Reduce the non-salary amounts for most other programs by 2.5 percent.

In her memo, Matayoshi said a host of other options were considered, including cutting all student transportation services, eliminating kindergarten (because it is not mandatory), and reducing all non-salary funding to programs by 13 percent.

Matayoshi said any cuts are hard and the proposed funding changes will have an effect. "The reduction to WSF (weighted student formula) will reduce the amount of funds that are distributed to schools, and this will have a negative impact on schools as they will have less to operate with," Matayoshi said, in the memo. 

She added that eliminating funding for adult education, "may eventually result in fewer course and/or consolidated school sites."

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