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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, August 30, 2001

Status conference to address Felix compliance

By Alice Keesing
Advertiser Education Writer

Differences between the Legislature and a federal judge over special education will be aired in court again next Thursday.

Jeffrey Portnoy, the special master in the Felix consent decree, has called a status conference to address issues that have emerged from the Legislature's investigation into the state's attempts to comply with the decree.

Some of the information coming out of the investigative hearings is not correct, Portnoy said.

That includes questions that have been raised about a $9,049 bill to the state from plaintiff attorney Eric Seitz. The bill included fees for time spent quashing two subpoenas issued by the investigative committee. Sen. Colleen Hanabusa has said that "is not a proper expenditure" of state money.

"I think the court is concerned that there is an attempt to suggest that somehow the court has not been vigilant in reviewing fee requests," Portnoy said.

The conference also will address concerns that the Legislature's investigation could be hindering efforts to meet the court's deadline and avoid a takeover of the special education system.

The state has until November to bring two-thirds of its school complexes into compliance and to meet various other requirements.