Kokua Line
June Watanabe

Monday, September 19, 2005

High school rents
space to park buses

Question: On the Kaimuki High School campus, near Date Street, is a fenced-off section housing a number of what appear to be commercial, tour-type buses. Who gave them permission to park there? Who's responsible for the upkeep of the field?

Answer: Discover Hidden Hawaii Tours obtained permission from Kaimuki High School to lease an unused portion of the school's field.

Under the state Department of Education's administrative rules, school buildings, facilities and grounds "shall be available for general recreational purposes and for public and community use whenever these activities do not interfere with the normal and usual activities of the school and its pupils as provided by law."

"Business enterprises" are among those allowed such use.

The tour company pays $835.20 a month for use of the field and is responsible for maintaining the area, said Ronald Oyama, the school's vice principal in charge of facilities.

The fee is set according to state guidelines and goes to the Department of Education, he said. Thirty percent is kept by the state, while 70 percent is returned to the school.

The school uses the money to supplement its custodial budget, including restocking supplies such as toilet paper and towels, Oyama said.

Meanwhile, the company is "becoming a partner with our school," giving students opportunities for internships and job training, he said.

Another benefit is that the smaller tour buses may be available to help transport the school's smaller athletic teams, such as swimming and track. In the past, the school has had to hire regular school buses to transport the athletes.

Any person or group interested in using the school facilities or grounds can contact the school directly.

Q: What's the status of the U.S. flag being flown at half-staff? I know that President Bush ordered the flag be at half-staff for Katrina victims and Chief Justice William Rehnquist. However, all over town, I see them either at half-staff or full up. How long is this for? If the president orders flags at half-staff for federal buildings, isn't it customary for private property to follow?

A: Under the Flag Code, the U.S. flag is to fly 10 days at half-staff at all federal properties/naval vessels throughout the United States and its territories or possessions following the death of a U.S. Supreme Court chief justice or retired chief justice.

Bush ordered the flag flown at half-staff in honor of Rehnquist, who died Sept. 3, until sunset Sept. 13.

He also ordered the flag be flown at half-staff until sunset tomorrow, as a mark of respect for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The law does not require private individuals or businesses to fly flags at half-staff upon a presidential order or to prevent them from flying the flags at half-staff at other times. Although the Flag Code is established by law, its provisions are considered guidelines, rather than mandated practices.


See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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