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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hawaii voters may decide if governor should appoint Board of Education



By Loren Moreno
Advertiser Education Writer

Voters are likely to decide in November whether Hawai'i's next governor should have the authority to appoint the members of the state Board of Education, a dramatic shift away from nearly five decades of voters electing members to the education policy-setting body.

A legislative conference committee today merged state House and Senate versions of a constitutional amendment bill that would pose the following question to voters: "Shall the Board of Education be changed to a board appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, as provided by law?"

A similar question has been posed to voters twice before and had failed both times.

Lawmakers must still rectify differences between House and Senate versions of a sister bill that would specify the makeup of the new BOE the number of members, geographic areas of representation, length of term and term limits.

The bill would also outline the role of an advisory council, which would select candidates for the governor to choose from, similar to the current process of selecting the members who sit on the University of Hawaii's Board of Regents.

The Legislature's deadline for merging the sister bill to the constitutional question is Friday, said state Rep. Roy Takumi, D-36th (Pearl City, Momilani, Pacific Palisades), chairman of the House Education Committee.