Better education
tops Maui survey

Next most important is preserving
the isle's beauty and rural areas

WAILUKU >> Improving the educational system is the top goal of many residents in Maui County, according to a survey by a nonprofit group formed to create economic alternatives on the Valley Isle.

The Maui Economic Development Board, which recently released its "Focus Maui Nui" findings, said more than 1,600 members of the community participated in 167 small-group sessions and in a survey.

The board said the survey showed residents want improvements in secondary education and a public university with strong academic research programs that create jobs.

Formed in the early 1980s, the board helped to found the Maui Research and Technology Park in Kihei, the site of a number of high-technology activities, including an Air Force supercomputer that tracks deep-space objects.

The board has been working with Maui Community College to develop a curriculum to prepare students for high-technology jobs.

The second priority listed by residents, according to the board, was preserving Maui's beauty and maintaining its rural areas. The third priority was development of affordable housing, followed by water and transportation issues.

The board said participants came from a cross-section of the community, including residents from Lanai and Molokai, and ranged in age from teenagers to senior citizens. Fifty-six percent were females and 44 percent were males.

The board said the racial breakdown of participants appeared to be roughly similar to the U.S. census of Maui County, with about 40 percent of participants saying they were Caucasian or part Caucasian, 29.7 percent identifying themselves as at least part Asian, and 23.4 percent saying they were at least part Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.


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