Friday, June 18, 1999

School board,
union say schools
plan lacks details

Superintendent LeMahieu's
reorganization is put on hold

By Crystal Kua


School board members and a public employee union want more details on exactly who's going to end up where under state Schools Superintendent Paul LeMahieu's plan to restructure the Department of Education's state offices.

The board last night voted 8-3 to hold off giving the first phase of the reorganization plan its final blessing until the department reports back with more specifics next month.

In other personnel action, the board also approved LeMahieu's choices for district superintendents for Maui, Kauai, Windward and Leeward Oahu and a deputy district superintendent for Maui but turned down his selections for Big Island and Honolulu district chiefs.

In the reorganization plan, LeMahieu plans to consolidate the functions of five state offices into three -- Division of Administrative Support Services; Division of Learner, Teacher and School Support; and Regional Offices that will include district and school operations.

Although a board committee approved the plan in concept earlier this week, most of the board members last night decided to send the matter back to committee so they can receive more details from the department on what positions will be affected.

The Hawaii Government Employees Association said it is not trying to stall the reorganization but wants more information about what will happen to positions in order to inform members, who are also asking for further details.

"We appreciate the department's continued efforts to involve us in the process; however, we expect to be officially consulted on the entire restructuring plans," HGEA field services officer Dale P. Osomo wrote in a recent letter to the board.

HGEA officials said the official consultation wouldn't begin until the union has the restructuring plan in a final form.

Board member Ron Nakano said the proposed changes could affect items like salary. For example, if an employee has to report to a new location to work, the cost of transportation could affect that employee's pay.

DOE Personnel Director Albert Yoshii said the consultation period is 60 days and that the union uses this time to disseminate information to its members for review.

In other personnel matters, the board approved:

(PI) Daniel Hamada, Eleele Elementary's principal since 1993, as Kauai district superintendent.

(PI) Lea Albert, Kahuku High and Intermediate School principal since 1987, as Windward Oahu district superintendent.

(PI) Hazel Sumile, Waianae High School principal since 1995, as Leeward Oahu district superintendent.

(PI) Paul Brown and Elizabeth "Lee" Hoxie, district superintendent and deputy district superintendent, respectively, of Maui. Both had been serving in these positions in an interim capacity since July.

(PI) Stafford Nagatani as the superintendent's administrative assistant, at a salary of $81,551.

LeMahieu also revealed that he will seek a replacement for Central Oahu District Superintendent Aileen Hokama's position, which he hopes to fill before the end of July.

Neither LeMahieu nor board member Keith Sakata would give reasons for the rejection of the Big Island and Honolulu district superintendent picks or name the candidates. Sakata heads the committee that gave the initial disapproval earlier this week.

LeMahieu said he is also looking to fill eight deputy district superintendent positions and two assistant superintendents.

The district superintendents will be making $80,136, while deputy district superintendents will be making $72,886.

Both the reorganization plan and most of LeMahieu's remaining appointments will be discussed at a July 7 committee meeting and then a July 8 special Board of Education meeting.

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