Video by Kent Nishimura/The Honolulu Advertiser
Hawai'i schools superintendent Patricia Hamamoto said the budget cuts Gov. Linda Lingle outlined yesterday will leave the school system with about $162 million a year less than previously anticipated.
"I've been in the department for 30-plus years, and we've had cuts before, but nothing to the depth that we're looking at now," Hamamoto said. "Every parent ought to be concerned. We're going through some cuts that we've never experienced before."
The $162 million in cuts applies to the next two school years and is on top of about $60 million that the state Legislature had already cut from the school budget for those two years.
The Legislature had approved a $1.8 billion budget for the Department of Education for the next two years.
Hamamoto was unable to say exactly how the public school system plans to deal with the budget reduction. However, over the next few weeks, the DOE is likely to seek a combination of cost- saving measures including furloughs, increased class sizes, salary cuts and cuts to school-level programs.
Hamamoto appeared to rule out the possibility of any layoffs within the DOE.
"That's something that I thought was very clear in the governor's message," she said. "Layoffs were not something that she had envisioned."