The longstanding chief financial officer for the Hawaii Department Of Education is leaving for the University of Hawaii system, according to an agenda item listing new appointments from the UH Board of Regents.

Amy Kunz, an assistant superintendent, was appointed chief financial officer of the DOE in September 2011, making her eight-year tenure within DOE central leadership the longest of any of the current assistant superintendents.

She is joining the UH Office of the Vice President for Budget and Finance as associate vice president effective Aug. 1, according to the regents’ agenda. She will report to UH Chief Financial Officer Kalbert Young, UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl confirmed Friday.

Dept of Education Amy Kunz presentation to the Board of Education.
Soon-to-depart DOE Chief Financial Officer Amy Kunz has been in that role since September 2011. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The DOE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Kunz is the second DOE assistant superintendent to step down in recent weeks: earlier this month, school superintendent Christina Kishimoto announced in an internal memo that Dann Carlson, assistant superintendent in charge of facilities, is leaving July 15 to become the 154th Wing commander with the Hawaii Air National Guard.

Along with Carlson, Kunz was the only carryover from the previous superintendent’s leadership team. Kishimoto became superintendent in August 2017 and largely created a new core team.

Kunz joined the DOE in 2011 determined to “learn its inner workings and build greater transparency into its fiscal reporting,” she wrote in an op-ed for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser earlier this year, shortly before the 2019 legislative session got underway.

In that piece, Kunz defended the availability of DOE budget information and pointed out how the department’s annual audits are “clean.” But she noted that DOE data is based on an accounting system that is “more than two decades out of use” and how DOE program categories can’t be easily updated due to “downstream impacts to schools’ cash flow and budgeting that can last years.”

“No amount of transparency about our numbers can fix the flaws in the underlying system,” she wrote.

The $2.1 billion operating DOE budget had come under increased scrutiny from the Legislature in the midst of annual budget negotiations and funding requests.

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