Saturday, November 27, 2004

DOE preparing for
new repairs authority

The department will handle half
of school repair projects for now

Following the governor's decision to accelerate the transfer of authority for school repair and maintenance, Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto said the Department of Education is working on a plan to repair Hawaii's public schools.

The department's Office of Business Services has already "formulated a delivery plan to get the work done and continue servicing our schools," Hamamoto said.

Gov. Linda Lingle announced Nov. 17 that half of the $100 million in school repair and maintenance projects under management of the Department of Accounting and General Services were to be immediately transferred to the Department of Education.

The other half will be managed by DAGS until the DOE is prepared to assume full responsibility next July 1, as provided by the Reinventing Education Act of 2004.

"This new arrangement will allow the DOE to move forward on ensuring our schools are kept in good repair, and will provide accountability to the public," Lingle said in her announcement.

The transfer of repair and maintenance authority "will give us the autonomy we have been seeking," which is necessary to hold the DOE accountable, Hamamoto said in a statement Tuesday.

"I appreciate the governor's foresight in acknowledging the upcoming changes and giving us this opportunity to make a difference in our schools," she said.

The DOE and DAGS are continuing negotiations on the transfer to the education department of more than 300 employees who are involved with school repair and maintenance and capital improvement projects, Hamamoto's statement said. The transfer will take place July 1.

In the past, the DOE set a priority list of projects, requested the release of funds from the Department of Budget and Finance and then worked with DAGS to carry out the projects.

Under the new law, the Education Department is responsible for soliciting contractors and for monitoring their work.

State Department of Education



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