The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) today released the results of a school bus transportation system analysis. The DOE ordered the comprehensive study in August to determine what led to increased costs by school bus contractors, and to investigate strategies to improve efficiencies. The study comes in advance of a hearing next week to determine the fate of school transporation for students across Hawai’i.
After a two-month review of the bus transportation system, DOE consultant Management Partnership Services (MPS) submitted its Student Bus Transportation Study, along with several recommendations.
“This thorough review was necessary to clearly identify missteps taken over the years so that they are not repeated,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The recommendations on the path forward are equally important as we implement both short- and long-term changes.”
MPS is recommending a fundamental overhaul of the DOE’s Student Transportation Services Branch, including changes to contracting practices to encourage competitive pricing, clarify expectations and improve contract management. Some of the recommended changes will require the upcoming 2013 Hawaii State Legislature to address potential revisions to the Hawaii Revised Statutes that govern school bus contract laws.
“We will be briefing the Legislature on this recommendation in changing the law to improve the procurement process,” noted Superintendent Matayoshi.
The MPS study found the entire student transportation services program is in need of systemic change; specifically in areas that address costs, procurement, organizational structure and technological upgrades for monitoring and support. Among the findings:
The report also noted Hawaii’s unique geography and relatively closed market as additional constraints to the procurement system. Specifically, MPS is recommending that the DOE pilot a revised business model next school year (2013-14), and execute a revised competitive procurement process for contracts in the 2014-15 school year.
“Our commitment is to our students’ ability to learn,” said Raymond L’Heureux, assistant superintendent for the DOE’s Office of School Facilities and Support Services. “Getting them to school in the most efficient, safe and timely manner is a high priority.”
The DOE’s school bus transportation system serves more than 35,000 students annually through 700 buses operated by 12 contractors on five islands: Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai and Hawaii Island. In late June, the DOE announced more than 100 bus routes were being eliminated due to rising costs and a loss of funding. The DOE streamlined services and restored a number of routes, but was unable to restore all of them. In all, more than 2,300 students at 51 different schools were affected.
“The report provides an excellent and needed road map for the Department to comprehensively address our bus transportation challenges,” stated Board of Education (BOE) Chairman Don Horner. “The Board is appreciative of the Superintendent and her new management team’s commitment to address these long-standing educational challenges with transparency and a sense of urgency. We have invited the principles of Management Partnership Services to a Board public informational briefing on December 4.”
The MPS Study will be presented at the BOE’s Informational Briefing on Tuesday, December 4 at 11:30 a.m. at the Queen Liliuokalani Building in Honolulu, Room 404.
WAILUKU – On Dec. 6, the Council and its committees will begin accepting oral testimony from Council district offices in Hana, Lanai, and Molokai, for Council and Council committee meetings held at the Council Chamber in Wailuku.
“Making these remote testimony sites available will allow a broader cross-section of our County’s communities to be heard without having to travel to Wailuku,” said Council Chair Danny Mateo. The initiative will implement the recent Charter amendment relating to interactive communications access, passed by the voters at the Nov. 6 general election.
“In approving this new Charter requirement,” explained Mateo, “the voters clearly signaled their support of increased opportunities for input on the work of the Council.” Mateo continued, “The vote confirms that the people of our County recognize we are all in this together, and that the people of Hana and Lanai, and my neighbors in Molokai, should more easily be able to voice their opinions to the Council.”
The Council acted quickly following the election to put into place remote testimony sites it had been working on for some time.
Initially, access to the meeting in the Council Chamber will be accommodated by telephone from each of the district offices, which will serve as remote testimony sites. The district offices are located at the Hana Community Center, 5091 Uakea Road, Hana; the Lanai Community Center, 8th Street, Lanai City; and 100 Ainoa Street, Kaunakakai, Molokai. These communities should be aware that other district office services cannot be available while oral testimony is being accommodated, due to limited facility size, staffing, and other constraints. It is expeced that testimony opportunities will eventually include videoconference capabilities, and/or such tools as the popular “Skype” program.
As before, the Council and its committees will accept written testimony on an item at any time.
The Council’s Economic Development, Agriculture, and Recreation Committee will be the first to receive testimony from remote testimony sites at its meeting on Dec. 6. The procedure is expected to continue at the Council meeting on Dec. 7 and thereafter for meetings held in the Chamber. “We welcome the communities’ participation from these remote testimony sites,” said Mateo, “and ask for everyone’s patience as we continue to improve our interactive capabilities along the way.”
The meetings are open to the public. Meeting agendas are available on the County website. To receive meeting agendas via e-mail, please complete the on-line subscription form on the County website at www.mauicounty.gov. For more information, please contact the Committee staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or, for Council meetings, the Office of the County Clerk at email@example.com.
Early Thursday – around 2:25 a.m. - Maui Police responded to a homeless encampment located at the end of Ka’ae Road, Wailuku, HI., and area known as the “Wailuku River Mouth,” in regards to four males fighting. Upon arrival, Police located a 52 year-old, local male to be unresponsive within his tent and started CPR.
Witness reports say KOKO threw the victim to the ground and mounted him, before being separated by other family members. KOKO then fled the scene on foot prior to Police arrival at which time the Victim proceeded back into his tent and collapsed. The Victim did not have any outward observable injuries that could reveal the cause of his death. As a result, a MANSLAUGHTER investigation is being initiated and an autopsy will be conducted to determine the victim’s exact cause of death.
Police are looking for the Suspect, Charleston KOKO, 27 years old. They say he is an adult Hawaiian male, about five feet, six inches tall and about 160 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes. With no known other address, police consider him homeless and unemployed.
WAILUKU, Maui, Hawai`i– Maui County Ocean Safety officers responded to a shark attack at 10:15 a.m. today in Kihei.
The 61-year-old male victim had been snorkeling with another man about 200 yards off shore, fronting1790 Halama Street when the shark attack took place. The victim suffered multiple lacerations to the lower left leg and thigh area.
At this time the size of the shark and type are unknown, but the victim did say that the shark’s head was about two feet wide. The victim, visiting from Lake Oswego, OR, sustained a deep laceration to his left calf.
The victim was treated on shore and transported to the Maui Memorial Medical Center. Ocean Safety, Maui Fire Department personnel and officials from the Department of Land and Natural Resources have since closed the beach off to swimmers from Kamaole III to Waipualani Park. There are safety signs posted and Air One will be doing a flyby of the area shortly, along with Ocean Safety patrolling the waters via jet ski.
The area will remain closed until sunset and reevaluated tomorrow morning. If there are no additional confirmed shark sightings the area will likely reopen at 11 a.m. Saturday.
(Wailuku, HI)—César Gaxiola, executive director, J. Walter Cameron Center, has announced the Center has volunteer positions available for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the season-opening golf tournament of the PGA TOUR that is being held January 3-7, 2013, at Kapalua’s Plantation Course.
Volunteers will assist with the public parking lot at Honua Kai Resort on Sunday, January 6 and Monday, January 7. Lunch will be provided to the volunteers.
Volunteers may call 244-5546 to sign up.
The J. Walter Cameron Center has been a beneficiary of this prestigious tournament since 1999. Since this time, the event has donated over $4 million to Maui’s charities and community organizations.
The J. Walter Cameron Center is located at 95 Mahalani Street in Wailuku and is the home to 15 Resident Social Service Agencies including, A Keiki’s Dream, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association of Hawaii, ARC of Maui County, Best Buddies International, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Hawaii, Heritage Hall, Inc., Hui No Ke Ola Pono, Inc., Imua Family Services, Ka Lima O Maui, Maui Community Mental Health, Mediation Services of Maui, Mental Health Association of America, MEO Kāhi Kamali‘i, and Pacific Cancer Foundation.
These agencies are estimated to provide services to as many as 30,000 people annually.
Cameron Center meeting facilities provide space to over two hundred community organizations and businesses throughout the year and serve as many as 40,000 people annually.
The National Weather Service in Honolulu has continued the HIGH SURF ADVISORY for NORTH FACING SHORES of MAUI and MOLOKAI, in effect until 6:00 a.m. Saturday.
A High Surf Advisory means that high surf will affect beaches in the advisory area, producing strong rip currents and localized beach erosion.
EFFECTS: A long period north swell will reach advisory levels along north facing shores today reaching heights of 12 to 16 feet. Surf will continue to build through today and gradually diminish through the day on Saturday.
A high tide of approximately 1.5 feet is expected between 2:25 p.m. and 3:43 p.m. this afternoon. The next high tide of approximately 2.7 feet is expected between 4:22 a.m. and 5:40 a.m. tomorrow morning.
PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES: BEACH GOERS ARE URGED TO STAY OUT OF THE WATER AND WELL AWAY FROM THE SHORE BREAK DUE TO THE HAZARDOUS WAVE ACTION AND STRONG RIP CURRENTS.
INFORMATION: Maui County Civil Defense will continue to monitor the situation. Please listen to your local radio and TV stations or NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts for any updates. NOAA Weather Broadcasts can be reached by calling 1-866-944-5025. NOAA Weather Internet services can be found at www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl.
Pre-recorded advisories and notifications are available 24-hours a day on the Maui County Automated Information System (AIS) by calling 986-1200.
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