Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Sunday, February 17, 2002

Report cards are no basis
for isle school transfers

Question: Why does Moanalua Elementary ask for a report card when we apply for a geographic exception? They told me it's because it helps to place students, but it sounds like they're trying to see what kind of students are applying first. Is that within the law? We applied my son last year when he was entering kindergarten and they asked for his most recent report card. No other school asked for that. At other schools, we were just told to submit the application, then we were assigned numbers for the lottery and numbers were randomly drawn. But at Moanalua, we got no number. They said they had too many applications.

Answer: Moanalua Elementary officials say report cards are only used for placement purposes and not for screening "GE" applicants, said Department of Education spokesman Greg Knudsen.

However, "We have asked the school to request the report card only after a GE is accepted to avoid mistaken impressions," he said.

Meanwhile, for the current year, the school is accepting applications through the March 1 deadline, Knudsen said. If there are more applicants than available spaces, the school will hold a "fair chance lottery" on April 5.

Q: Why is it that parents who work at feeder schools get priority on district exemptions from the DOE when their children are ready to move up? For example, from an elementary school to an intermediate school.

A: Under the Department of Education's Administrative Rules, Chapter 13, they shouldn't be given priority consideration, said spokesman Greg Knudsen.

If you have a specific example, he said to let the DOE know and "we will advise the school to follow Chapter 13."

Under Chapter 13, applicants for a geographic exception are given priority for the following reasons, Knudsen said:

1. Authorized physical residence in the receiving school's geographic attendance area;

2. Program of study of the receiving school that is not available at the home school;

3. Siblings of students currently enrolled in the receiving school who will continue to be enrolled in the coming school year; or

4. Children of staff at the receiving school.

The reasons are not ranked and are given equal consideration, under the rules.

"An exceptional student may apply for a geographic exception, including priority consideration, as long as the receiving school is capable of providing reasonable accommodations for that student," according to Chapter 13. "All other requests for geographic exceptions shall be considered only after priority requests have been accommodated."

Q: I have been getting bills from Martha Stewart Living. We didn't order or receive anything, but they've been billing us $28. I wrote on the bill, "cancel -- did not order/or receive this publication. Will refuse delivery." Will that suffice?

A: That should suffice, although, next time, you may want to write a letter saying as much to the company, sending it by certified mail and keeping the return receipt and a copy of the letter.

There may be a valid reason that the company has you down as a subscriber or it may be an honest mistake.

In general, under federal law, if you receive unordered merchandise, you are allowed to keep it and are under no obligation to pay for it.

Consumers legally may be sent only two types of merchandise through the mail without consent or agreement: free samples, which are clearly marked as such, and merchandise mailed by a charitable organization soliciting contributions.

Under the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, the mailing of unordered merchandise constitutes unfair methods of competition and unfair trade practices under the law.

On top of that, it is illegal for a company that sends you unordered merchandise to follow the mailing with a bill or dunning communication.

In that case, you are not obligated to pay or contribute anything to the sender. In response to bills demanding payment, you can respond in the same way as if you received unordered merchandise, according to the U.S. Postal Service.

The Postal Service also says if you don't wish to pay for unsolicited merchandise or make a donation to a charity, you may do one of three things:

1. Mark an unopened package, "Return to Sender," and the Postal Service will return it with no additional postage charged to you;

2. Throw away the contents if you open the package and don't like what you find; or

3. If you open the package and like what you find, you may keep it for free.

"In this instance, 'finders-keepers' applies unconditionally," according to the postal service.


My wife and I are visiting our daughter in Kailua. On Feb. 9, after shopping at the Safeway Store in the Aikahi Shopping Center, I left my cane in the cart. I am disabled and disappointed that no one has turned it in. It is a heavy wooden, dark mahogany cane. If someone has found it, please call 262-6036. -- J.J. from Nebraska

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