STATE OF HAWAII
BOARD OF EDUCATION
FINANCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE COMMITTEE

MINUTES

Queen Liliuokalani Building
1390 Miller Street, Room 404
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Tuesday, September 20, 2016


PRESENT:
Grant Chun, Chairperson
Kenneth Uemura, Vice Chairperson
Brian De Lima
Bruce Voss
Patricia Bergin, ex officio
Margaret Cox, ex officio
Jim Williams, ex officio

EXCUSED:
Lance Mizumoto

ALSO PRESENT:
Amy Kunz, Senior Assistant Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer, Office of Fiscal Services
Dann Carlson, Assistant Superintendent, Office of School Facilities and Support Services
Clyde Sonobe, Assistant Superintendent, Office of Information Technology Services
Alison Kunishige, Board Executive Director
Kenyon Tam, Board Analyst
Summer Jenkins


I. Call to Order

The Finance and Infrastructure Committee (“Committee”) meeting was called to order by Committee Chairperson Grant Chun at 11:37 a.m.


II. Public Testimony on Committee Agenda Items

Committee Chairperson Chun called for public testimony. The following people provided oral testimony.

Name
Organization
Agenda Item
Position
Vanessa OttMember of the Public IV. C. Update on the Office of Information Technology Services 2016 priority initiatives

IV. D. Presentation on status of Goal 3, Successful Systems of Support in relation to the review and extension of the 20177-2018 Joint Department of Education and Board of Education Strategic Plan
Comment
Debbie AndersonDepartment of Education (Waiakea Intermediate School)IV. A. Update on Department of Education’s fiscal reports as of June 30, 2016 (comparison to budget, school food service, student transportation, utilities, impact aid receipts, and Capital Improvement ProgramComment

Vanessa Ott, community member, testified and suggested collecting bottom-up feedback for the Board of Education (“Board”) and Department of Education (“Department”) Joint Strategic Plan (“Strategic Plan”). Ott stated that there should be a process to collect feedback from the field in addition to the Hawaii State Teachers Association inputs.

Debbie Anderson, Teacher, Waiakea Intermediate School, testified with concerns that the Weighted Student Formula (“WSF”) is not addressing the needs of rural and small schools. Anderson provided statistics and stated that there should be equity for all students and asked that adequate resources to support learning be given to all schools.

Committee Member Bruce Voss agreed with Anderson’s concerns regarding equity and stated that she and others need to bring their concerns to the Legislature to request more funding.
III. Approval of Meeting Minutes of August 16, 2016

ACTION: Motion to approve the Finance and Infrastructure Committee meeting minutes of August 16, 2016 (Voss/Bergin). The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye.


IV. Discussion Items
Amy Kunz, Senior Assistant Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer, Office of Fiscal Services, stated that the Department will return to the Board on October 4, 2016 for action on the budget. The Department received a revised appropriation with non-reoccurring items, including the addition of Office of Strategy, Innovation, and Support funding and hard-to-staff bonuses funding. Kunz stated that the fringe benefits for non-general funded employees had increased to 60% and will have to be covered by funding within programs.

Committee Member Brian De Lima entered at 11:45 a.m.

Kunz shared that the items presented are grouped into three areas of request:

Kunz mentioned there had been concerns about the Department submitting the budget before the Strategic Plan; however, the Department believes there will be alignment. Kunz stated that the Department is required to submit the budget to the Legislature by EDN program identifications and highlighted the categories.

Dann Carlson, Assistant Superintendent, Office of School Facilities and Support Services, presented details on the additional support area. Carlson shared the Department’s $4,910,000 request for heat abatement maintenance, $3,207,507 request for new school facilities equipment, and $2,800,000 request for school service and maintenance.

Kunz added that $2,217,000 is requested for the student information system to expand components offered, and $1,866,399 is needed for student transportation for bus contracts and anticipated inflation. Another $1,187,595 is requested for the Longitudinal Data System and $283,403 for food service increases.

Carlson stated that for required items, the Department is requesting $978,992 for environment health services and $308,928 for the Office of Information Technology Services.

For the third area, Kunz explained that $1,203,593 is requested for a Strategic Initiatives Manger and three additional positions for special projects and leadership directives. Another $293,557 is requested for the Community Engagement Office, $85,000 for audits and fraud, and $60,992 for the Board, which includes funding for evening and neighbor island meetings. Kunz stated that the Department is laying out needs to increase transparency around the budget process.

Committee Vice Chairperson Kenneth Uemura stated that the budget process is getting clearer and asked how many new positions will be funded by general funds. Kunz stated she will get the information to Committee Vice Chairperson Uemura later.

Committee Vice Chairperson Uemura asked about air conditioning warranties and if all of the equipment funding should be compiled in one place rather than coming from various funding sources. Carlson explained that the heat abatement request is for items outside of all existing warranties. Carlson stated that the question is whether or not capital improvement funding should be used for equipment and noted that he can look into it.

Vice Chairperson Uemura asked if there is any federal funding for additional supports. Kunz replied that there is no federal funding for the areas, but the food service area has federal reimbursements for free and reduced priced lunches. The Department feels it is behind on reimbursement funding in comparison to similar states, so it is seeking to increase the reimbursement amount by the USDA for free and reduced lunches served.

Committee Member De Lima asked if the new student information system can streamline the form process for parents. Kunz replied that it might be possible and mentioned that the system could also help with Impact Aid and other data collection.

Committee Member De Lima asked if increasing the price of food for adults would help cover the costs under the food services area. Carlson stated that the minimal participation from adults in buying meals would most likely have no effect on covering the amount needed. The Department found efficiencies by closing and centralizing school kitchens.

Committee Member De Lima mentioned that the Department has requested funding for the one to one electronic device program in the past and asked why it is not being requested again if it is a good program. Committee Member De Lima stated that just because the Legislature does not approve a funding request one year does not mean that the Department should stop making the request.

Committee Member De Lima asked for clarification on the environmental engineer positions. Carlson explained that the Department is asking for two full-time employees to do work that is currently being contracted out. Carlson stated that there are currently 30 engineers overall but none of them are environmental engineers. Committee Member De Lima expressed concern that the Legislature will see 30 as a large number of engineers and will not want to provide the funding. Committee Member De Lima stated that it is important to explain the story with enough detail and be proactive in anticipating questions.

Committee Member De Lima asked for more information on the Dole office building. Carlson replied that the office space is for the Office of Information Technology Services and the Office of Human Resources. Committee Member De Lima asked if there are any more commercial vacant spaces belonging to the Department. Carlson stated that all spaces are being utilized and vacant schools have been converted to office spaces. Kunz added that moving the two offices into the Dole building allowed the Department to house the Human Resources functions at one location, save on cost of rent per square foot and provide the opportunity to work cohesively.

Committee Member Voss stated that food service costs have been flat for multiple years while demand has risen over the past several years. Committee Member Voss asked if the food service budget request is enough. Carlson replied that the requested amount is adequate and stated that the Department managed costs through the Community Eligibility Program. Kunz stated that quarterly reporting helps the Department to monitor funding and mentioned factors that could potentially impact the funding.

Ex Officio Committee Member Patricia Bergin asked if the Department will again allow charter schools to contract with Department cafeterias for food service in the future. Carlson replied affirmatively and stated that two Kauai charter schools plan to contract for food service beginning in October. The Department plans to expand participation to other charter schools as well. Carlson stated that the costs previously got out of control, and the Department will manage it better going forward.

Committee Vice Chairperson Uemura asked if state procurement law allows for leasing vehicles and noted the old age of current vehicles. Kunz replied that leasing goes through the Department of Budget and Finance and stated that she will look into it.

Carlson presented the Department’s Capital Improvement budget request. Carlson stated that the Department’s approach is to ask for needed funding and compare the requests when funding is appropriated. The Department has a current project plan based on the requests but will re-plan with the final figures. The Department is requesting $30.8 million in addition to the Governor’s $100 million for heat abatement initiatives, such as electrical upgrades, air conditioning, and passive measures. Another $259.5 million is requested for new facilities and repurposing existing facilities to create capacity. The Department is requesting $159.3 million for repair and maintenance, infrastructure purposes, hazardous material removal, and structural improvements. The Department is also requesting $100.7 million for program support and $146 million for equity in science facilities, special education, energy improvement, noise abatement, and other initiatives.

Committee Vice Chairperson Uemura asked why the hazardous materials and structures are not included in the Capital Improvement backlog as priorities. Carlson stated that the Jacobs Study is not comprehensive enough to highlight problem areas, so the area has unexpected, but recurring items. Committee Vice Chairperson Uemura expressed concern about identifying problem areas and the risk of not prioritizing structural issues. Carlson explained that the additional requested positions will help address the concern.

Committee Vice Chairperson Uemura asked for clarification on Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) compliance and the Department’s ability to manage upcoming projects. Carlson stated that ADA compliance will not be an issue if progress is shown, and the Department is attempting to break the projects up in a smart and realistic manner. Carlson stated he is confident that the Department can finish the projects as projected. Committee Vice Chairperson Uemura asked for the current projects dollar amount and if there are any uncommitted funds. Carlson stated he will provide the information at a later time.

Committee Vice Chairperson Uemura stated that there are many school capacity projects without increases to enrollment. Carlson explained that the Department is working on a master plan and analyzing enrollments. Carlson stated that the Department can project future enrollment, but there are anomaly areas where the population never peaked.

Committee Member Voss provided his full support for the Capital Improvement budget request and stated that now is the time to invest in school facilities. Committee Member Voss asked how schools in need of equity are determined. Carlson referred to the Farrington High School and Ilima Intermediate School projects and explained how they will solve capacity issues. Carlson mentioned that those projects benefitted from having influential Legislators from those areas.

Committee Member Voss stated students deserved modern facilities for optimal learning, even in places where enrollment is declining, and asked how the Department addresses declining facilities. Carlson stated that the Department has spoken to principals about the condition of facilities and school needs. The Department prioritizes repair and maintenance based on enrollment.

Clyde Sonobe, Assistant Superintendent, Office of Information Technology Services (“OITS”), provided an update on OITS’s priority areas for the current and upcoming years.

Sonobe provided information about the Department’s network infrastructure. The Department’s Institutional Network (“INET”) ring had been completed, consisting of fibers controlled by the Department and allowing wireless connectivity in every classroom. The Department tripled internet bandwidth capacity to provide schools with consistent connectivity. Network monitoring tools were implemented to monitor and manage network resources and a management application device was piloted.

Sonobe provided information about the new student information system, which has been implemented for the current school year and went live in July. The previous system had been in place for over ten years. Sonobe referenced an early comment made by Committee Member De Lima about streamlining the forms required to start the school year and stated that the Department is researching ways to improve the process. However, certain forms, like the military survey is required to be in paper form. Sonobe explained that the Department trained teachers and administrators on the student information system over the summer. The Department plans to continue training through the school year for implementation with minimal disruption to schools.

Ex Officio Committee Member Jim Williams exited at 12:47 p.m.

Committee Vice Chairperson Uemura asked if the system has received satisfactory feedback. Sonobe replied that there is inconsistency in the time spent and knowledge levels of technology coordinators (“TCs”) at the school level. Some schools have full-time TCs while others have part-time TCs, making it difficult to provide adequate services. Committee Vice Chairperson Uemura stated that it is important to have qualified information technology specialists at the complex area and state office levels and asked if the system allows more innovation at the school level. Sonobe stated that full-time, trained TCs will allow each school to leverage technology. Schools are in charge of selecting curriculum, and OITS provides the infrastructure to connect them.

Committee Member Voss asked what needs to happen for the Department to maximize the potential of the technology systems. Sonobe stated that the Department needs a collaborative response from schools about the kinds of services they need, and OITS is responsible for ensuring access is provided.

Ex Officio Committee Member Bergin exited at 12:52 p.m.

Stephen Schatz, Deputy Superintendent, stated that each section of the Department is responsible for all Strategic Plan goals to provide flexibility to schools and foster innovation while complying with regulations. The process for developing Strategic Plan Goals 2 and 3 includes feedback from the community, teachers, education leaders, and the Governor’s Every Student Succeeds Act Team. Schatz shared that 74% of principals feel that they had the right amount of direction and flexibility to be successful.

Kunz shared the main objectives of Goal 3 and the strategies for each objective:

Committee Member Brian De Lima suggested revisiting the existing strategic plan and combining aspects with the proposed revisions to the Strategic Plan and stated that the Board and Department should not completely eliminate things that have been considered a priority for four years.

Committee Member Voss mentioned Goal 3, Objective 1, Strategy 2, and stated that it ties into staff support. Committee Member Voss stated that the Department should make sure it is maximizing resources. Schatz stated that leadership competencies help create a vision of a leader and professional development is built off of the competencies.


V. Adjournment

Committee Chairperson Chun adjourned the meeting at 1:14 p.m.