Students weigh in on Con-Am


Canva by Ka Leo staff 2018.

Trustan Kekauoha, News

This recent election cycle, the Hawaii State Teachers Association tried to pass a bill to use a portion of the income from Hawaii’s property taxes to go towards public school education. On Oct. 20, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled against Con-Am and in favor of the four-county lawsuit against the HSTA’s tax hike constitutional amendment. Now the question is: what’s next for Hawaii’s public schools?

The state is currently in the process of making a joint collaboration with the HSTA to help fund public schools. Previous bills tried to help fund public school education but weren’t successful, according to the HSTA. The teacher’s union says there are only four major solutions that could help generate money for public school education: the general excise, the income tax, the property tax, and the hotel tax.

“I thought the HSTA had a good idea,” Tiana Caramonte (10) said. “I just can’t really understand why the state couldn’t pass it because now it just makes it harder to reach a decision.”

Although Governor David Ige says he is expecting more than $4 billion from the state’s tax modernization program, the Education Institute of Hawaii will be conducting a financial study to see how much the schools are actually getting, and where the money is going to, to determine if what the schools are receiving is adequate.

Teachers at Kalani know about the proposal, but no one offered to voice their opinion on the issue.

Kalani students are bewildered by the reluctance of Hawaii residents to support public education. They argue that public education needs funding.

Some students at Kalani are upset that the court rejected the HSTA’s proposal on the property tax.

“I don’t understand,” Erika Wu (9) said. “It would help our education and who wouldn’t want that?”

Even though the bill was rejected by the court, it was still an option on the ballot, but a sign in ballot boxes said the votes would not be counted. The state didn’t take it off the ballot because it was too late.

“When my mom went to vote, she saw the choice on the ballot,” Brooke Castro (10) said. “She was disappointed that the votes weren’t actually being counted for that section.”