Furlough protest moves outside Lingle's residence
• Photo gallery: Furlough Protests
by Suzanne Roig
Advertiser Staff Writer
Protesters opposing public school furloughs moved their sit-in from the governor's office to outside her official residence yesterday and vowed to keep up the pressure.
Despite the seven trespassing citations issued Friday on day three of their sit-in at the governor's office, the group vowed to keep up the pressure.
"We'll be here throughout the weekend," said Clare Hanusz. "We hope that the parties who can end the furloughs are working through the weekend, too."
It was a symbolic gesture to move the protest outside of Washington Place, which is now a museum. The governor lives in a private residence in the rear of the property, across from the state Capitol on Beretania Street.
If the furloughs haven't ended by tomorrow, the group representing Save Our Schools will move their sit-in back into the governor's office, said Hanusz, a parent of two students at Noelani Elementary School.
Yesterday, the group left the governor's office at 7:45 a.m. so sheriff's deputies overseeing the sit-in could go home. As the protesters made their way across the street they chanted "Fix it now" and "What do we want? School. What do we got? Furlough."
"We are gaining attention," said Lois Yamauchi, a Save Our Schools member. "We felt this was a last stand. None of us want to do this. We just want to draw attention to the furlough issue.
"We are dismayed by the lack of progress."
The governor says she has met with the state Department of Education, the Board of Education and the Hawai'i State Teachers Union in attempts to resolve the furlough issue.
Yesterday morning, cars zipped by on Beretania Street, honking their horns in support of the protest. Children and adults sat on the sidewalk drawing up new poster board signs throughout the day.
Furloughs began on Oct. 23. The union representing the teachers, the state Board of Education and the governor agreed to a total of 34 furlough days over the next two years.
So far, students have not had school on 13 of the17 furlough days scheduled for this school year.
Ali Hanusz-Soguk, 8, spent the night at the governor's office reception office. It wasn't very comfortable. No bathroom. No bed.
"We care about what's going on right now," Hanusz-Soguk said. "We want Linda Lingle to get out here and solve this problem we're in. I want to go back to school."