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Editorials
Tuesday, June 22, 1999

Kamehameha restores
outreach programs

Bullet The issue: The Bishop Estate trustees canceled Kamehameha Schools' outreach programs four years ago.
Bullet Our view: The interim trustees' decision to revive some of the outreach programs is welcome.

THE Kamehameha Schools took a historic step forward in 1995 when the Bishop Estate trustees approved the establishment of elementary schools on Maui and the Big Island. That will make it possible for the benefits of the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop to be extended to thousands of Hawaiian children on the neighbor islands who otherwise could not attend Kamehameha.

However, the trustees announced at the same time that they were discontinuing community outreach programs costing $11 million as a means of financing the new campuses. This appeared to many observers to be wholly unnecessary in view of the estate's huge financial resources and the relatively small portion the trustees were spending on education.

Moreover, the programs, some of them operated in the public schools in collaboration with the state Department of Education, were valued as a means of helping Hawaiian children who had no opportunity to become regular pupils at Kamehameha -- by far the majority.

It was estimated that 40,000 Hawaiian children in the public schools were affected. There were programs for parent-infant education, at-risk students and adult education. About 170 Kamehameha Schools employees lost their jobs when the programs were canceled.

Since those decisions were made, the board of trustees has been immersed in turmoil, culminating in the recent temporary removal of all five trustees and the appointment of a new interim board. Resentment of the trustees' elimination of the outreach programs was a factor in mobilizing the Hawaiian community against the board.

The new trustees have now reversed the earlier decision in part, voting to develop a parent-infant education program and renew the partnership with the DOE. The board also voted to allow 3-year-olds into the Kamehameha preschool program, which is now limited to 4-year-olds.

Interim Chairman Robert Kihune said the outreach programs should never have been dropped, but noted that the board did not revive all of the canceled programs. The fate of some has not yet been decided.

Kamehameha Schools President Michael Chun said the trustees' actions "open up great opportunities for extending (Bernice) Pauahi's legacy and her dream for her people."

A program-by-program review is preferable to uncritical blanket approval. However, the position of the interim trustees is a welcome change from that of their predecessors, who seemed more interested in building the assets of the estate than in using its resources as its benefactor intended -- for education.

Tapa

G-8 plans for Balkans
must include Russia

Bullet The issue: Leaders of the seven wealthiest nations and Russia have agreed on a plan for economic assistance to southeastern Europe.
Bullet Our view: Russia's participation is an important element in achieving lasting peace and stability.

WESTERN leaders have declared their intention to provide economic and humanitarian assistance in the Balkans, and the inclusion of Russia in the effort is important. Russia is in no condition to share in the philanthropy, but its endorsement and even nominal participation may be crucial for the program to be effective.

Segments of Yugoslavia have been at war for most of this decade, first in Bosnia and Herzegovina and more recently in Kosovo.

NATO's bombing of Kosovo created tension between the West and Russia, with its strong ethnic and religious ties to Serbia. After helping to mediate an end to the hostilities, Russia jarred Western nerves by hustling troops into Kosovo ahead of NATO peacekeeping forces. However, the Kremlin eventually dropped its demand for independent control over a sector of Kosovo and agreed to operate under NATO command in several areas.

The occasion was opportune for shifting some of the post-conflict responsibility from NATO, which annoyed Russia by departing from what it promised would be a defensive posture, to the Group of Eight -- the seven wealthiest nations plus Russia. In a three-day meeting in Germany, leaders agreed on a program of "democratic and economic reforms" for the Balkans.

The meeting ended with a positive tone. However, details of the program, which is described as a mini-Marshall Plan for Southeastern Europe, are vague, especially regarding aid to Serbia while Slobodan Milosevic remains in power.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair opposes any aid to an undemocratic Serbia, while Russia wants Serbia to receive broad assistance. President Clinton wants assistance to be limited to humanitarian aid, which he said includes restoring electrical power but not bridges.

Russia under President Boris Yeltsin can be expected to remain flexible on this and any number of other issues as long as its own economic welfare depends heavily on Western assistance. The International Monetary Fund's agreement to a $4.5 billion loan that Russia had sought was a "little thank you by the West" for Russia's role in resolving the Kosovo crisis, said a German foreign ministry official.

Russia's involvement in the Kosovo peace-keeping force and the Group of Eight's reconstruction plan are positive steps toward achieving stability in Southeastern Europe. Further Western assistance to Russia itself enhances the effort.






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