S.C.R. NO.














urging a comprehensive management review of the department of education's operations.



     WHEREAS, there have been numerous discussions and various legislation passed in order to help improve Hawaii's failing public school system; and


     WHEREAS, a child enrolled in Hawaii's public school system is just as capable of achieving educational success as any other child enrolled in any other public school system in this nation; and


     WHEREAS, Hawaii's public school teachers are just as proficient and capable as other public school teachers in the nation; and


     WHEREAS, the Superintendent of the Department of Education requests more funding each legislative session to carryout and implement educational programs; and


     WHEREAS, the Department of Education receives nearly a quarter of the State's entire operating budget, the largest of any state agency. The department's appropriations, in fiscal years 2003 through 2008, increased nearly sixty-four percent from $1.5 billion to $2.4 billion; and


     WHEREAS, Hawaii's public school enrollment decreased by more than four-thousand students from 182,798 students in school year 2002-2003 to 178,369 students in school year 2007-2008. However, while public school student enrollment decreased, per student cost continued to increase from approximately $8,374 per student to well over $10,000 per student; and


     WHEREAS, Hawaii's public schools' test scores repeatedly rank among the lowest in the nation despite increased funding and decreased enrollment.  The Department of Education's standards-based test confirms that many Hawaii public school students generally score below the national average in reading and mathematics; and


     WHEREAS, Hawaii's public school students who took the 2007 College Board SAT entrance exam averaged 479 in math, a five-point drop from last year, while the reading score went down one point to 459 out of a possible 800; and


     WHEREAS, the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 established a program that requires states to ensure that by school year 2014, all students will meet or exceed each state's proficiency level of academic achievement in mathematics, reading and science; and


     WHEREAS, the January 2007 Department of Budget and Finance report on the adequacy of federal funding for implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act states that, "although, in the school years 2005 through 2006 approximately 85 percent of the public schools do not meet various NCLB performance standards the Department of Education spent less than half the federal school improvement grant money it received"; and


     WHEREAS, the available federal grants allotted by the No Child Left Behind Act and not spent by the Department of Education over a four year period resulted in a substantial carryover balance ($42 million in FY 03, $50 million in FY 04, $60.6 million in FY 05, and $53.8 million in FY 06); and


     WHEREAS, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an independent accounting firm, said in a 2005 audit of Department of Education programs, "the lack of transparency made it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to determine whether many public-school programs were achieving their objectives and whether taxpayer dollars were being spent wisely" and went on to say that, "roughly one-third of the department's 278 state-funded programs had inadequate systems in place to monitor their effectiveness and at least one in five suffered from insufficient oversight of program spending and many programs completely lacked either"; and


     WHEREAS, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP further noted that "though the department's budget has grown steadily in recent years to the current $1.78 billion, much of the increase has been due to the mounting cost of employee benefits and to court-mandated spending on special education"; and


     WHEREAS, the PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP audit's results concluded that it was often impossible to tell whether spending aligned with each program's purpose, noting that funds were often instead used to address urgent school needs such as classroom supply shortages; and


     WHEREAS, the State Auditor, in 2006, made its first audit of the management practices and controls of the Department of Education at Kailua High School, which uncovered numerous managerial and financial problems; and


     WHEREAS, the audit concluded that the Department of Education had not provided adequate support to Hawaii's public school system, including Kailua High School, in the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, and in the management of school programs and assets; and


     WHEREAS, the State Auditor determined that the Department of Education had not provided Hawaii's public school system with the support and resources needed to achieve the goals of the No Child Left Behind Act; and


     WHEREAS, the State Auditor stated "the measures that the Department of Education uses to determine the effectiveness of its budget are irrelevant, inaccurate and ambiguous...and are based on assumptions, estimates, and unverified data". Further, the State Auditor concluded that "as a result, legislators are denied potentially valuable information, and some may be basing their fiscal decisions on flawed data"; and


     WHEREAS, the Department of Education's last comprehensive audit of the entire organization, management processes, and personnel administration happened thirty-five years ago, in 1973; and


     WHEREAS, the Department of Education's spending practices need to be reviewed and resolved before an increase in funding from the Legislature is warranted; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-fourth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2008, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Office of the Auditor perform a comprehensive review of the Department of Education's operations to determine if, as now structured, it can effectively carry out its responsibilities under the federal No Child Left Behind Act and the State's Reinventing Education Act; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the results of the Office of the Auditor's review of the Department of Education's operations be reported to the Hawaii State Legislature at least twenty days prior to the beginning of the 2009 legislative session; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Office of the Auditor, the Department of Education and the Board of Education.
















Report Title: 

Department of Education management review