Hamamoto gets
4 more years

The BOE votes unanimously
to renew her contract early

The state Board of Education affirmed their support for schools Superintendent Pat Hamamoto last night, voting five months before her contract runs out to keep her in office for another four years.

"There are significant changes in education," said board Chairman Breene Harimoto. "We believe that we need to send a strong message to the people of Hawaii that we are serious about these changes."

The motion to approve the agreement carried unanimously. The board did not release the contract last night, but Harimoto said the superintendent's salary would remain at $150,000 annually.

The only significant addition to the agreement, he said, was a buyout clause that would promise Hamamoto the remainder of her contract's term if she were to be dismissed. Harimoto said the clause would not apply if Hamamoto was fired "for cause."

Hamamoto's contract was set to expire in December. She said she was honored "the board feels that confident in what I've done."

"I consider this as a commitment on the part of the board," she said. "I look forward to the next four exciting years."

Hamamoto has gotten positive evaluations from the board during the last three years and has garnered praise for her handling of several major changes in public education. Over the course of her tenure, she has worked to meet the standards of the federal No Child Left Behind Act and brought about "a culture of change," said Harimoto.

Harimoto said the board and Hamamoto are moving to tackle other challenges, including a reform of the state's education system.

"We need to have some stability," Harimoto said. "I personally think that Superintendent Hamamoto is the right person for the job at this time."

Hamamoto's renewed contract started yesterday and expires July 28, 2008.

Also last night, the board unanimously:

>> Approved the Hawaii State Public Library System's operating budget allocation and capital improvement project for fiscal year 2005.
>> Revised Education Department operating budget allocations for fiscal year 2004-2005.


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