STATE OF HAWAII
BOARD OF EDUCATION
GENERAL BUSINESS MEETING

MINUTES

Queen Liliuokalani Building
1390 Miller Street, Room 404
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Thursday, April 4, 2019

PRESENT:
Catherine Payne, Chairperson
Brian De Lima, Esq., Vice Chairperson
Patricia Bergin
Margaret Cox
Nolan Kawano
Kili Namau‘u
Dwight Takeno
Kenneth Uemura
Bruce Voss
Colonel Brett Black (military representative)
David Texeira (student representative)

EXCUSED:
None

ALSO PRESENT:
Christina Kishimoto, Superintendent
Alison Kunishige, Executive Director
Kenyon Tam, Board Analyst
Regina Pascua, Board Private Secretary
Irina Dana, Secretary


I. Call to Order

The Board of Education (“Board”) General Business Meeting was called to order by Board Chairperson Catherine Payne at 1:30 p.m.


II. *Public Testimony on Board of Education (“Board”) Agenda Items

Board Chairperson Payne called for public testimony. The following people provided oral testimony.

Name
Organization
Agenda Item
Position
Cheri Nakamura Education advocates, Hui for Excellence in EducationIV.C. Superintendent’s Report: (1) April 2019 Education Update; (2) update on school visits; (3) update on 2017-2020 Department of Education and Board of Education Joint Strategic Plan implementation: Focus on strategic planning process Comment
Linda ElentoPublic IV.A. Student Achievement Committee Report on: (1) Presentation on Complex Area Superintendent Report: special education and English learner in the Hilo-Waiakea Complex AreaComment

Cheri Nakamura, representing education advocates and the Hui for Excellence in Education, testified on the Board and Department of Education (“Department”) Joint Strategic Plan’s (“Strategic Plan”) indicators. Nakamura asked the Board and Department to keep the current 14 indicators as it develops the School Year 2020-2030 Strategic Plan so stakeholders could continue to monitor progress. Nakamura noted that she is in support of the Department adding qualitative indictors to the 14 current indicators.

Linda Elento, member of the public, testified on her concerns regarding barriers to inclusion and least restrictive environment data. She asked the Board and Department to consider allocating funding for schools to hire specialists, such as speech therapists, in instances of special education teacher shortages, and to consider creating a workgroup, to include parents, to address inclusion barriers.

Written testimony was also received and provided to the Board members. The following is a listing of the people that submitted written testimony before the testimony deadline.

Name
Organization
Agenda Item
Position
Kathy Rutecki Lahaina Intermediate SchoolN/ASupport/Comment
Morgan WeberLahaina Intermediate SchoolN/ASupport/Comment
Martha Guinan, William “Pila” Wilson, Gavin Thornton, David Miyashiro, Cheri Nakamura, Paula Adams, Deborah ZysmanEquity in education advocates; Special Education Advisory Council, Hawaii Appleseed, HawaiiKidsCAN, Hui for Excellence in Education, Hawaii Afterschool Alliance, Hawaii Children’s Action NetworkIV.C. Superintendent’s Report: (1) April 2019 Education Update; (2) update on school visits; (3) update on 2017-2020 Department of Education and Board of Education Joint Strategic Plan implementation: Focus on strategic planning processComment


III. Approval of Meeting Minutes of March 7, 2019

Note: Board Chairperson Payne took this agenda item after agenda item V.A, entitled “Presentation on State Auditor’s audit of the Department of Education’s School Impact Fees and Fair Share Contributions: audit process and timeline.”

ACTION: Motion to approve the General Business Meeting minutes of March 7, 2019 (De Lima/Takeno). The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye.


IV. Reports of Board Committees, Board Members, and Superintendent

Student Achievement Committee Chairperson Margaret Cox reported that the committee received a presentation on special education and English learners in the Hilo-Waiakea Complex Area. She highlighted that the complex area focuses on the emotional wellbeing of its students and staff and is responsive to the community in order to successfully implement inclusion in schools. She noted that the complex area needs to improve on student achievement, but it is on the right track and ensures that communities are involved.

Board Chairperson Payne reported on the status of the 2019 legislative session. She highlighted that the bill related to the state librarian’s salary cap is the furthest along that it has ever been and noted that the Legislature has not raised the salary cap since 2001. She detailed that ad hoc committee members have attended every hearing related to the state librarian’s salary cap and have had discussions with various decision-makers.

Board Chairperson Payne stated that the ad hoc committee has submitted testimony for bills related to early childhood education and detailed that the Legislature has amended these bills a number of times. Board Chairperson Payne highlighted that the Department and the Executive Office on Early Learning (“EOEL”) submitted joint testimony and are committed to collaborating to move early childhood education in public schools forward. She detailed that the Department and EOEL are asking the Legislature to fund 22 prekindergarten classrooms and noted that funding for classrooms in 18 charter schools are part of the Governor’s budget. Board Chairperson Payne highlighted that Board Member Bruce Voss would be attending the next hearing to present the Board’s testimony in support.

Board Chairperson Payne stated that House Bill (“HB”) 622, which would prohibit affiliations between the Board and State Public Charter School Commission (“Commission”) members and charter schools and prohibit individuals from serving as Board or Commission members if the individual was affiliated with a charter school within four years preceding appointment, continues to progress. She noted that HB 622 would affect the Board and Commission’s operations and detailed that the ad hoc committee has been submitting testimony in opposition and emphasizing the importance of the Board and Commission retaining members who are experienced and have expertise regarding charter schools.

Board Chairperson Payne stated that Senate Bill 171, which would create a task force to establish a process for the transfer of jurisdiction over all public schools from the State to the county in which the public school is located, is no longer progressing. She noted that the Legislature amended HB 407 to give the Board the authority to terminate Complex Area Superintendents (“CAS”). She stated that the ad hoc committee is in opposition to this bill because the Superintendent is in charge of personnel and should have the authority to both appoint and terminate CASs. Board Chairperson Payne stated that the ad hoc committee would continue to engage legislators as bills move to conference.

Board Member Voss stated that this legislative session has been challenging for the Department and emphasized the importance of the Legislature fully funding the Department’s base budget and the Superintendent’s key initiatives. He encouraged Board Members and stakeholders to relay their support for the Department’s budget at the Legislature.
Christina Kishimoto, Superintendent, reported that the College Board recently released official data for Class of 2018 graduates and ranked Hawaii second for one-year growth in Advanced Placement (“AP”) exam passing rates. She highlighted that the number of students who are taking AP exams and graduating with early college credits continues to increase. Kishimoto stated that the National Milken Educators of Hawaii awarded Kaneohe Elementary special education teacher Bella Finau-Faumuina with the Teacher of the Promise award for demonstration of excellence in her first six semesters of teaching.

Kishimoto reported that Hawaii P-20, Partnerships for Education, convened a summit of 250 educators, partners, and community leaders. She highlighted that groups shared national data around career pathways and highlighted that Board Member Nolan Kawano was able to attend. Kishimoto detailed that she and University of Hawaii President David Lassner had the opportunity to provide a joint perspective and described different partnerships. Kishimoto stated that the Department would be holding a Nā Hopena A‘o (“”) summit and noted that the focus at this year’s summit is rain and how water preserves the land. She detailed that the sessions would be hands-on, and attendees would have the opportunity to participate in sessions on HĀ assessment and holistic implementation across schools. Kishimoto stated that the Department held a best practices conference that focused on how to support military-impacted students’ transition in schools. She highlighted that Kalaheo High School, Solomon Elementary, and Ewa Makai Middle School provided best practice showcases and demonstrations.

Kishimoto reviewed the Strategic Plan planning process. She stated that the Department is discussing the power and promise of public education, including the power to impact communities and the promises on which the Department must deliver to ensure that students have equitable access to quality education. She detailed that the Department has had a number of planning processes and has engaged community members, partner organizations, internal staff, families, students, and government leaders. She noted that one of the Department’s goals is to ensure a seamless transition by using current information it has and building on goals.

Kishimoto reviewed current foundations, including the Strategic Plan, the Governor’s Blueprint for Education, which advances the Strategic Plan, and a learning organization design. She detailed that the learning organization design approach ensures that the Department is committed to equity and provides the Department with the opportunity to review each school. The learning organization design approach also focuses on school-design delivery models with student voice embedded in the school design process. Kishimoto detailed that the Department is committed to innovation, pilots, and funding for school design models and emphasized the importance of students, teachers, and leaders contributing to the design process. She noted that the Department shared the learning organization with communities, and it understands where it has experienced growth and the areas that are challenging.

Kishimoto reviewed the Department’s milestones and challenges. She stated that math performance is not increasing quickly and chronic absenteeism data has remained flat. The Department needs to continue to improve in certain areas, but it has shown great advancement in other areas. She stated that the Department has been using baseline data, working on different areas, and delivering on milestones, including the implementation of different standards, innovation grants, conferences, and building capacity around special education, computer science, and multilingualism. Kishimoto stated that the Department would need to advance in several key areas, including operational areas, such as facilities management systems, prekindergarten readiness, and system replacement and modernization. She noted that the Department wants the new Strategic Plan to take into account the work that is already in progress.

Kishimoto reviewed outcomes that the Department wants for students and communities, including how to accelerate work in key areas that have not seen movement. She highlighted that the Department went on a statewide listening tour in 2016 to prepare the current Strategic Plan. The listening tour included in-person focus groups and surveys to the community. She noted that the Department received consistent messaging about the student outcomes that communities want. Kishimoto detailed design work around HĀ and noted that other states are reviewing as a national design model.

Kishimoto reviewed the Department’s key partners and the alignment of their strategic plans, including those from the Hawaii Community Foundation, Kamehameha Schools, the University of Hawaii College of Education, and the Commission. She stated that business partners outlined six key areas in which they could contribute, including education, and noted that other strategic plans intersect with the Department’s new Strategic Plan. Kishimoto highlighted that the Department set goals, developed strategies, and implemented action steps and measures in the past. The Department plans to take a different approach by using metrics that the Department already developed through the Every Student Succeeds Act. She stated that the Department plans to review data progress and share its draft promise statements with communities in the near future. The Department is designing five high-level promises regarding the kind of education experience students should expect to have. Kishimoto stated that the Department would share its draft promises at the next Board meeting and then plans to share this draft with the community for public vetting. She noted that the Department would identify key benchmarks for these promises.

Kishimoto reviewed the Department’s guiding questions. She stated that the Department would need to review how to measure the Department’s values, such as civic engagement and civic voice. Kishimoto reviewed the Department’s 14 indicators and noted that they have measures that the Department has learned from, but the Department has not learned about certain areas from these measures. She noted that the Department would need to review additional measures it could incorporate without overwhelming the system.

Kishimoto stated that the planning process constitutes a shift in mindset that keeps the community at the core. The Department will need to design differently for different communities while considering different resources and community assets. She reviewed the process and timeline and stated that the Department is collecting feedback from leadership groups for promise statements. The Department plans to share the five-promise approach with the Board at the Board’s following meeting. She stated that the Department would vet its five promises, key benchmarks, and potential additional indicators with community groups over the summer and fall. The Department also plans to review how it will roll out a communication plan to ensure buy-in from constituents. The Department’s next steps are to roll out five promises, have conversations with the community, and meet with major partners.

Board Vice Chairperson Brian De Lima stated that he agrees that the Department needs to continue building and making progress. He commented that the new Strategic Plan appears grounded in the concept of equity and excellence and stated that he views the Strategic Plan as an important component that offers a snapshot in time for the Department and Board to focus on student success, staff development, and infrastructure. He stated that there might be disagreement regarding priorities, resources, and the number of promises. Board Vice Chairperson De Lima noted that he wants the Department to exercise caution and ensure that it does not dismiss some of the priorities that the Board adopted in the current Strategic Plan. He stated that the Board unanimously stated that the focus must be on the most vulnerable students, and he does not want the Department to lose this focus. Board Vice Chairperson De Lima stated that he agrees with revisiting the 14 indicators and potentially adjusting the indicators. He stated that the Strategic Plan is a living document that the Board and Department should review and revise.


V. Discussion Items
Note: Board Chairperson Payne took this agenda item after agenda item II, entitled “Public Testimony on Board of Education (“Board”) Agenda Items.”

Les Kondo, State Auditor, Office of the Auditor, reviewed the audit that the Office of the Auditor initiated related to the Department’s fair share contribution and impact fee program. He stated that the Office of the State Auditor self-initiated this audit in mid-to-late February, met with the Department in late February, received documents, and held interviews with Department staff and outside stakeholders. He noted that the audit is a performance audit to assess the Department’s performance, including how the Department implements these programs and whether the Department is implementing these programs per statute. Kondo stated that audits tend to take six months to complete, but the Office of the Auditor expects to issue a report before the end of June because the Department’s programs that the audit will examine are relatively small.

Kondo stated that the audit is currently in the planning phase, which consists of trying to understand what the program is, how the Department administers programs, and what the Department does. He noted that he expects that this phase will complete in the next couple of weeks. The next step is to use a risk assessment process to determine which areas and functions are significant. During this next phase, auditors will narrow the focus of the audit, identify objectives, and share objectives with the Department and the Board. After identifying objectives, auditors will complete fieldwork and review issues related to audit objectives. He stated that this phase might require auditors to re-interview staff and stakeholders. Kondo stated that auditors are interested in the Board’s perspective as a policy-making entity and how the Board views these programs, although the Board is not involved in day-to-day operations and implementation.

Kondo stated that auditors would report findings once the fieldwork phase is complete. The Office of the Auditor will share preliminary findings with the Department and issue a draft report in mid-June. Kondo emphasized that every sentence in an audit report is supported. He stated that the electronic version of the report would include links to supportive documents and interviews. He noted that auditors who are not part of the audit process review the report independently. Kondo stated that auditors would share the report with the Department after the independent review. He noted that the Office of the Auditor would not share the draft with any groups or individuals outside of the Department at this phase. Kondo stated that the Department would then have an opportunity to respond to the findings. He noted that the auditors would publish the Department’s response as part of the audit. He stated that the current expectation is that the Department would respond to the audit rather than the Board. Kondo noted that the Board would need to let the Office of the Auditor know if it wishes to be involved and respond to the audit as soon as possible due to timing. He stated that auditees would have a week to respond to the draft. Kondo stated that the final step is to meet with the Department to discuss the report to ensure that facts in the audit are correct. If the Department provides additional documents or points out incorrect facts, the auditors might change the audit. He stated that the primary purpose of the exit conference is to ensure that all parties are in agreement regarding facts. The auditors will publish the draft once this process is complete and there is assurance that facts are supported.

Board Member Bruce Voss asked how the Department could use the audit report once issued. Kondo stated that the Office of the Auditor’s goal is to help the Department to improve management and performance of programs. He explained that auditors would note issues and make meaningful recommendations to address and improve oversight. He stated that the Office of the Auditor self-initiated the audit because it was intentionally seeking a small program to audit due to timing and to clarify office procedures.

Board Vice Chairperson De Lima explained challenges the Department faced collecting impact fees in West Hawaii and asked if auditors intend to interview mayors and administrators in different counties regarding their participation in the Department’s programs. Kondo stated that auditors have interviews scheduled with the City and County of Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting and with Maui County’s Department of Planning and Permitting. He noted that auditors do not currently intend to interview the mayor or administrators in West Hawaii, but whether this changes is dependent on objectives and the audit scope.

Board Vice Chairperson De Lima detailed that the Board has had presentations and discussions regarding issues, collections, and statute, and asked if the audit would include discussions of legal issues. Kondo explained that this depends on the audit objectives and the relationship between these issues and the Department’s implementation of the audited programs per statute. He stated that the primary criteria would be the statute and ensuring whether policies and procedures are consistent with statute. Kondo stated that auditors would note this as part of the report.

Board Vice Chairperson De Lima stated that issues related to collection and statute are important and should be part of the scope. He stated that the scope should be broad rather than limited because issues related to these programs are complex. Board Vice Chairperson De Lima noted that the final product would be more valuable if it were more comprehensive.

Kondo stated that he does not expect any issues with Board members or Department staff and expects full cooperation.


VI. *Public Testimony on Board Agenda Items

Board Chairperson Payne called for public testimony. There was no public testimony at this time.


VII. Action Items
ACTION: Motion to approve all School Community Council requests for exceptions to collective bargaining agreements, statutory waivers, and waivers of Board policy for School Year 2019-2020 for the schools listed in the agenda as described in the memoranda dated April 4, 2019 from Board Member Margaret Cox and Board designee Rodney Luke (Cox/De Lima). The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye.

Board Chairperson Payne stated that the Board published a call for applications and application forms and notified charter school stakeholders and the Commission on March 29, 2019. She stated that applications are due by April 18, 2019.

Board Chairperson Payne detailed that the Board adopted a new process at its March 7, 2019 General Business Meeting that requires the Board to establish an investigative committee to investigate any applications that the Board receives and nominate recommended individuals to serve as members on the Commission for the Board to consider for appointment. She stated that the investigative committee will present its nominations at the Board’s May 2, 2019 meeting, and the Board will take action on the nominations at its May 16, 2019 meeting.

Board Chairperson Payne recommended that the Board take action to assign two to four Board Members to the investigative committee tasked with nominating recommended individuals to serve as members on the Commission for the Board to consider for appointment and designate the Board Members that will serve as the chairperson of the investigative committee.

Note: The Board took action on this agenda item after executive session.

ACTION: Motion to 1) establish an investigative committee (a permitted interaction group pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 92-2.5(b)(1)) tasked with nominating individuals to serve as members on the Commission for the Board to consider to appointment and 2) designate Board Chairperson Catherine Payne, Board Vice Chairperson Brian De Lima, and Board Members Patricia Bergin and Bruce Voss to serve on the investigative committee, with Board Vice Chairperson De Lima serving as chairperson (De Lima/Cox). The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye.


VIII. Executive Session

This portion of the meeting was closed under Section 92-4 and Section 92-5(a)(3) and (4), Hawaii Revised Statutes.
ACTION: Motion to move into executive session to consult with the Board’s attorney on the matters described on the agenda and to deliberate on matters concerning labor negotiations (De Lima/Uemura). The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye.

The meeting recessed at 2:38 p.m. and reconvened at 3:15 p.m.

Board Chairperson Payne called for public testimony. There was no public testimony at this time.

Note: The Board took action on agenda item VII.B, entitled “Board Action on designation of Board Members to an investigative committee (a permitted interaction group pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 92-2.5(b)(1)), concerning nomination of individuals to serve as members of the State Public Charter School Commission,” after executive session.


IX. Adjournment

Board Chairperson Payne adjourned the meeting at 3:16 p.m.