POSTED: Thursday, September 03, 2009

4 more schools meet standards of federal law

After successful appeals, four more Hawaii schools were judged to have made adequate yearly progress last year under the No Child Left Behind law.

Since the preliminary results were announced in July, the status for Ala Wai Elementary, Salt Lake Elementary, Konawaena Middle and the Hakipuu Learning Center PCS has changed from “;not met”; to “;met.”;

With the addition of the four schools, 101 out of 284 public schools, or 36 percent, met the adequate yearly progress standard.

The change means 137 Hawaii public schools this academic year are in “;good standing,”; 28 are in “;school improvement,”; 19 in “;corrective action,”; 10 schools are “;planning for restructuring,”; and 90 are in “;restructuring”; under the federal law.


War's end remembered aboard USS Missouri

The famous battleship where Japanese officials signed the surrender documents that officially ended World War II played host yesterday to about 20 elderly U.S. veterans and dozens of observers as they marked the 64th anniversary of the war's end.

The USS Missouri, which was anchored in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945, for the surrender ceremonies, has since been decommissioned and moored in Pearl Harbor.

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie told those gathered it's fitting that the battleship—now known as the Battleship Missouri Memorial—is docked just a few hundred yards from the memorial for the USS Arizona.

The Arizona sank when Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, an event that drew the U.S. into the war.

“;I can think of nothing more valuable of this complex here ... to enable generations to come to reflect and understand,”; said Abercrombie.


Council shelves talk on homeowner tax rate

A proposal to create a separate homeowner classification for real property tax assessments has stalled while the City Council examines other tax bill proposals.

“;I think everybody's in agreement—we're trying to figure out a way to give a tax break,”; Council Budget Chairman Nestor Garcia said yesterday, after his committee deferred action on Bill 51. “;How we get there is where we diverge.”;

Bill 51 is supported by Mayor Mufi Hannemann's administration, which says the proposal is aimed at separating tax rates for true homeowners versus nonresident owners such as speculators, investors and vacation home owners.

Some Council members have balked at the proposal, noting that there are existing means for helping owner-occupants, such as the $80,000 property tax exemption and adjustment of the property tax rate itself, which is set by the Council.

Garcia said he wanted to study a proposal that would provide a tax break for qualified owners of affordable rental housing properties, a move aimed at preventing property owners from increasing rent on tenants to make up the added taxes.

“;Whatever is in our purview to give relief to renters, via the property owners, I want to see what we can do,”; Garcia said.