Advocates who have fought since June to maintain the current social studies requirements for high schoolers, came out Tuesday in force to beg the board not to vote yet on the latest graduation policy proposal from the Department of Education. They say it would be illegal to vote on Tuesday at the board’s meeting, pointing out that the contents of the new policy were not posted until Monday, giving members of the public only one day to review it and prepare testimony.
According to Hawaii’s Sunshine Law, meeting notices must be posted six days in advance and include meeting time, date, place and agenda.
While the Board of Education did post its agenda six days in advance, State Sen. Les Ihara said the agenda and documents posted online were incomplete, misleading, and therefore did not fulfill the spirit of the state’s Sunshine Law requirements.
Posted with the agenda last Wednesday was a memo of recommendation from the Department of Education describing its latest proposal for a graduation policy. It referred to an “Attachment A,” which was not posted until Monday, according to members of the Aloha POSSE, a grassroots advocacy organization for social studies.
The recommendation memo posted Wednesday also did not match the actual policy proposal posted Monday.
After hearing more than an hour of testimony on the proposal — much of it from students — board members went into an executive session Tuesday afternoon to discuss the potential Sunshine Law violation with the state attorney general’s office. They emerged a short time later and Chairman Don Horner announced that the board felt confident it had complied with sunshine requirements. It planned to proceed with a vote on the graduation requirements.
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