THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

78

THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2019

S.D. 2

STATE OF HAWAII

A BILL FOR AN ACT

RELATING TO EDUCATION.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:


     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that article X, section 1, of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii requires the State to provide a system of public education.  Compared to other states, Hawaii is unique because the State, rather than a county or local level jurisdiction, is responsible for public education.  As a result, funding for public education in Hawaii is primarily sourced from the general fund of the State.

     The legislature further finds that adequate funding is crucial to providing each of Hawaii's children with a high-quality educational opportunity.  Yet, some studies found that education funding in Hawaii may be lagging in comparison to districts of similar size and cost of living.  For example, according to a 2017 department of business, economic development, and tourism analysis of real property tax in the State, as a share of combined state and local government expenditures, Hawaii's education expenditures are 27.3 per cent and rank lowest in the nation.

     The legislature additionally finds that underfunding public schools could undermine the State's goal of providing a quality education to all of Hawaii's children.  Insufficient education funding results in higher class sizes, a lack of adequate classroom supplies, elimination of arts, career, and technical education courses, budget cuts for special education and English language learner programs, and an increasing number of vacant teacher positions.  To prepare children to meet the social and economic demands of the twenty-first century, it is necessary to understand the amount of funding needed to support student learning.

     The purpose of this Act is to require the department of education to contract with a third-party consultant to perform a study on the adequacy of education funding in Hawaii; provided that the consultant specializes in school finance and has previous experience conducting studies of public education systems in multiple states.

     SECTION 2.  (a)  The department of education shall contract with a third-party consultant that specializes in school finance to perform a study of the adequacy of education funding in Hawaii.  The third-party consultant shall have previous experience conducting studies of education systems in multiple states.

     (b)  The study shall:

     (1)  Employ the evidence-based method to evaluate the adequacy of school funding, but may include the professional judgement method in its analysis;

     (2)  Identify variables most closely associated with a high-quality education and estimate the amount of additional funding needed to provide all public school students in Hawaii with an equal educational opportunity;

     (3)  Compare Hawaii teacher salaries with teacher salaries in school districts of similar size and cost of living to determine compensation characteristics that impact the department of education's ability to recruit and retain effective teachers;

     (4)  Assess the equity of funding between schools throughout the Hawaii public school system; and

     (5)  Review school funding studies performed in other states, including the 2016 study "Using the Evidence-Based Method to Identify Adequate Spending Levels for Vermont Schools" by Picus Odden and Associates and the 2007 study "Washington Adequacy Funding Study" by the Education Policy Improvement Center.

     (c)  The department of education shall submit to the legislature a copy of the study, along with a report of its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2021.

     SECTION 3.  There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $200,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2019-2020 for the department of education to contract with a third-party consultant that specializes in school finance to perform a study of the adequacy of education funding in Hawaii.

     The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of education for the purposes of this Act.

     SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2050.



Report Title:

DOE; Education; Adequacy Study; Appropriation

Description:

Requires the Department of Education to contract with a third-party consultant that specializes in school finance to study the adequacy of education in Hawaii.  Appropriates moneys for the study.  Effective 7/1/2050.  (SD2)

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