Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Sunday, April 22, 2001

Now all fed aid aimed
at DOE hits target

Question: I realize it would not solve all the money problems in Hawaii's schools, but what about impact aid money -- money from the federal government for each military child? Why is this money just dumped into Hawaii's general fund instead of going directly to the schools? How much does this money amount to each year?

Answer: The state Legislature last year passed a law (Act 234) prohibiting federal impact aid money received by the Department of Education from being returned to the general fund and allowing unanticipated excess funds to be spent by the DOE.

Impact aid funds are meant to help educate military and other federally-connected students.

Typically, through the state's budget process, the DOE would receive an advance sum based on the state's estimated allocation of impact aid.

In recent years, the aid amounted to about $19 million annually, said DOE spokesman Greg Knudsen.

The problem was, when the actual amount exceeded the estimate, the DOE didn't necessarily get the additional funds.

"The appropriation is based on anticipated sources of revenue," Knudsen explained. "We used to get double burned because if the impact aid came in less than estimated, then we'd have to make up the shortfall."

But that hasn't been a problem for the last few years. In fact, last year, the state received $31.4 million in impact aid funds -- $12.4 million more than expected. The DOE got to keep that extra money.

"We ultimately did receive the benefit of those (extra) funds, but (in the past) it wasn't automatic," Knudsen said.

With Act 234, the bottom line now is that all federal impact aid funds will go to the DOE. The money can be used to meet general DOE expenses, including payroll, Knudsen said.

Q: I wanted tickets for the Cazimero concert on May 1. I called Ticket Plus, which is the only number to call for the Blaisdell ticket office, and they said it would be $23.50 for reserve seats, plus $4.25 plus $1.75. I didn't understand these charges, so I called Foodland and got tickets there, but it was still $23.50, plus $3.25 for handling. When you're picking up tickets at the counter and it's not being mailed, why do you have to pay all these extra charges? Is there any place we can go to just buy tickets without paying these extra charges?

A: If you showed up at the Blaisdell Center box office , you would only be charged a $1 fee, according to the box office manager.

But, "there is always a fee," she said.

The fees may vary depending on the event. In general, however, if you were ordering and charging by phone, the fees would be $4.25 ($3.25 for Ticket Plus and $1 for the city), plus a $1.75 processing fee (which also goes to Ticket Plus), she said. You are basically paying extra for the convenience of purchasing the tickets by phone. At Ticket Plus outlets, the fee is $3.25 per ticket, cash.

The city signed a three-year contract with Ticket Plus in April 1999 to sell tickets for events at city-owned venues.

Ring Found

In the transition from the old Star-Bulletin to the new, we discovered a St. Louis High School class ring that someone had found in the sand at Ala Moana Beach and sent Kokua Line in August 1998. No one ever claimed the ring, which is engraved with the name Scott Robert Copeland. We're trying one more time to find the owner. If it's yours or you know who Scott is, call Kokua Line, 529-4773, and leave a message.

Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered.
Email to

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