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Editorial | Off the News

Off the News: More transparency on schools spending

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Following years of effort and a lawsuit, the Education Institute of Hawaii has obtained voluminous financial data it sought from the state Department of Education. While the records — from the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years — are dated, the nonprofit hopes a granular review can better inform the public on how taxpayer money is distributed.

This welcome push for stepped-up transparency is intended to spur more empowerment at the individual school level in deciding how funding gets spent toward delivering student success, and a reduction in one-size fits-all practices. Amid pandemic, it can also be helpful in sizing up equity in budget cuts.

Seawater AC cooling project goes cold

It seemed like a good idea at the time — using the natural coldness of deep seawater to yield air conditioning in many Honolulu buildings — but it didn’t pencil out.

Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning LLC had been pursuing the project for 16 years, investing $25 million, money that didn’t pay off. The problem is not uncommon: construction costs overtook estimates that would have been affordable, rising from $225 million to $400 million.

Sounds familiar to those who have tracked the rail project.

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