STAND. COM. REP. NO.2241
RE: S.B. No. 2896
Honorable Robert Bunda
President of the Senate
Twenty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2002
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Education, to which was referred S.B. No. 2896 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO EDUCATION,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this measure is to allow the Department of Education to provide suitable student transportation to and from not-for-profit private and sectarian elementary schools and secondary schools; provided that eligibility for such transportation has been determined in a nondiscriminatory manner on the basis of neutral, secular criteria.
Your Committee heard testimony in favor of the measure from the Department of Education, St. Catherine School, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, St. John's Catholic Preschool, and three private individuals. Your Committee received comments from the Department of Accounting and General Services.
Your Committee finds that dependable transportation is one of the most vital components enabling families to comply with Section 302A-1132, Hawaii Revised Statutes, which (with certain limited exceptions) mandates compulsory attendance in school for children under 18 years of age. As these school buses are already in operation, it would be more cost-effective to have them operate as close to full capacity as possible.
Your Committee has amended the measure by:
(1) Adding a provision that students attending schools of choice shall not be eligible for transportation services unless cost-neutral services may be provided by the Department of Education mandating that private and sectarian school students shall pay fair market value (as determined by the Department of Education) for school bus fare, to achieve compliance with Article X, Section 1 of the Hawaii State Constitution;
(2) Adding a provision that the availability of such transportation will be provided on a space available basis to students of not-for-profit private and sectarian elementary schools and secondary schools;
(3) Deleting the reference to ratification of a constitutional amendment regarding student transportation to private and sectarian schools as the trigger of the effective date; and
(4) Deleting the reference to the Department of Accounting and General Services, in light of Executive Order No. 00-01, which transferred jurisdiction over student transportation to the Department of Education from the
Department of Accounting and General Services effective July 1, 2000.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Education that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2896, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2896, S.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Education,
NORMAN SAKAMOTO, Chair