Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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December 09, 2009 - MidWeek
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BOE brouhaha

Where to start with what’s wrong with Don Chapman’s column “BOE Members In It For The Dough”?

Mr. Chapman claims that two Board of Education members often attend meetings to qualify for a $100 stipend, then leave meetings early. His source? An unnamed BOE member. How else would Mr. Chapman know what happens at board meetings if he never shows up for one?

Mr. Chapman also ignores that Board members, as part of their duty as elected officials, attend various school events and community meetings on their own time and without compensation to learn about what schools are doing, and to inform and answer questions from the public.

Mr. Chapman goes on to criticize public school principals who had not yet applied to convert teacher training days into teaching days, saying they “are not paying attention.” If Mr. Chapman were paying attention, he would know that school community councils, which include principals, parents, teachers and students, decide collectively whether to cancel or convert planning days into instructional days. They, not Mr. Chapman, know what’s best for their schools.


Alex Da Silva,
Public Affairs Officer
State Board of Education
Note: MidWeek’s editor stands by the original story and his unnamed source, whom he has known for nearly 20 years. It is an essential right, legally preserved, to quote an expert source who would not otherwise speak for attribution. While not always comfortable with the practice and believing it should be limited, he also believes that in this case the seriousness of the allegations and the trustworthiness of the source justified publication. As a founding member of Benjamin Parker Elementary’s School Community Based Management board, he’s well aware of how the public school system works.

Convert holidays

In 2010 there are 15 paid holidays for state and city workers. Why can’t these days be used as non-paid days off to take the place of Furlough Fridays? There will be no disruption of service as they are scheduled days off and kids will not miss school.

When times get better, paid holidays can be restored as appropriate.

This concept can be applied to all state workers. For those workers who must work on holidays (prison guards, civil defense, etc.), they can be paid time-anda-half for their work, not the double-time-and-a-half that is now paid to them (regular day’s pay plus time-and-a-half for work performed on a holiday). This will not solve the budget crisis, but would go a long way toward keeping our children in school.

D. Earl Hooper

Go back to work

Let me preface by stating I am in favor of teachers getting a reasonable salary.

We keep hearing about teacher furloughs, tax increases, raid the hurricane fund, etc. to solve the deficit situation. The solution is really quite simple and fair. The teachers should accept the pay cut and go back to work. Special Ed kids get help, no Furlough Fridays, the lawsuits go away, and when the economy turns the teachers pay gets restored. In the meantime, be happy you have a job. Many folks have lost theirs. Problem solved.

Most small-business owners have lost more than 8 percent in income. They are not taking furlough days. In fact, they may be open longer and working harder so they don’t lose more than 8 percent. Real estate agents, escrow agents, car dealers and other salesmen, advertising agencies, small contractors have all taken more than an 8 percent hit, and they aren’t taking furlough days either. And none of these people has a pension plan anywhere near what the teachers or other unions have. Most peoples’ 401K is now a 201K or a 101K. Many retirees lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in their retirement account and some have been forced to look for work in their golden years. The teachers’ pension is still intact.

I may be wrong, but I never heard where it is against the law for unions to take a pay cut.

Jim Slavish

Send your letters to MidWeek Letters, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 500, Honolulu, HI. 96813; by fax to 585-6324, or by email to dchapman@midweek.com. Please include your name, address and daytime and evening phone numbers. We print only the letters that include this information, but only your name and area of residence will appear in print. Letters may be edited for clarity and space.
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