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Kokua Line: Lost storm days not added to school calendar for now

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  • This photo from state Sen. Kai Kahele’s Facebook page shows flood damage from Hurricane Lane’s rains at Waiakea Elementary School in Hilo.

Question: Will Hawaii public school students have to make up the two missed school days due to Hurricane Lane? When students on the mainland miss school due to snow, they are required to make up lost school days to meet the required number of school days in the year.

Answer: No, and that goes for Tropical Storm Olivia, too, which closed public schools in Maui County. However, the state Department of Education will reassess later in the school year if more instructional days are lost.

Unlike mainland states, Hawaii has a single public school district overseen by a statewide Board of Education. State law mandates a 180-day school year encompassing 1,080 student hours but doesn’t prescribe how to make up lost time and authorizes the board to waive the requirements.

Lindsay Chambers, DOE communications director, explains:

“The Hawaii state Department of Education prioritizes attendance as a powerful predictor of student success and, as such, tracks it as a statewide success indicator on our Strive HI accountability system.

“When calculating average daily attendance in a school year, the total number of school days reflects the number of days students are actually required to attend school.

“At this time, students will not have to make up days when schools were closed due to Hurricane Lane and Tropical Storm Olivia. Under the department’s attendance policy, students are not marked as present or absent when schools are closed due to inclement weather.

“We will continue to track our overall school closure days for decision-making as we finish out the school year.

“Hawaii state law (HRS 302A-251) does mandate a 180-day school year with 1,080 student hours for all public schools except those on multi-track schedules and charter schools. The law does not, however, address how missed days are to be made up. The law also authorizes the state Board of Education to grant waivers from those requirements.”

You can read the law at

Schools closed statewide Aug. 23-24 for Hurricane Lane, and four on Maui remained closed the following Monday, Aug. 27. Tropical Storm Olivia closed Maui County’s public schools on Wednesday. Of those, only Kilohana Elementary School on Molokai remained closed Thursday, as of deadline.

Q: Will there be one of those e-waste events in town soon?

A: Yes, a “Going Green” community recycling event is scheduled for Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Central Union Church, 1660 S. Beretania St.; enter the parking lot from Punahou Street.

It remained scheduled as of deadline, weather permitting.

The following materials will be accepted: computers, monitors, laptops, printers, fax machines, servers and telecommunications equipment. One TV per car. HI-5 beverage containers; batteries of all kinds; used cooking oil; canned goods; usable clothing and household items; used eyeglasses and hearing aids; prom dresses and accessories; women’s business suits and accessories; pet food, towels, blankets.

Paper won’t be accepted, as this is not a shredding event. Also, this is a one-day event, so don’t bring items to the church afterward.


A hearty shout-out “mahalo” to the Koolau Driver Licensing Center. New residents in Hawaii, my wife and I went online, scheduled appointments for Monday and showed up on time. And having read comments regarding poor service, etc., we had no little trepidation. We found a most efficient operation and a professional, helpful staff. Our appointments were 10 minutes apart, and we were served on time. Done and out the door in 25 minutes flat. We hope this counters some of the negative comments we have previously read. — George and Judy Fenzl

Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email

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