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Notes from West Hawaii Council Meeting Held Feb. 19

February 22, 2010

West Hawaii Annual General Membership Meeting

February 19, 2010

Kona Daifukuji Soto Mission

President Lorraine Hora welcomed everyone and recognized newly retired members Bob Rossman, Toni Winterkamp and Esther Jenkins who were present.  HSTA-Retired State President, Justin Wong, and WHCC officers JoAnn Iwane and Katherine Staton were also acknowledged. JoAnn gave a brief update of WHCC and indicated a possible meeting within the next month to plan activities for the year.

Copies of last year’s minutes and current District Budget were distributed.

President’s report was distributed and Lorraine gave highlights of each activity.

Copy of the testimony Lorraine wrote in opposition to HB 2598 that would suspend the Counties receiving their share of the Transient Accommodation Tax revenue for 3 years was distributed and explained.

 A brief business meeting was called to order at 9:42 am.  Eunice Saito moved that West Hawaii members approve the affirmation of the election of District Council officers for 2010-2012.  Esther Jenkins seconded the motion. Motion passed.  Ballots were passed out and voting for 4 delegates to the HSTA-Retired State Delegate Assembly was conducted. Meeting was adjourned at 9:48 am.

 Steve Ono gave an update on legislative bills in the current session.  He shared handouts of bills HSTA is monitoring.  There were several questions from the members regarding the status of VEBA and sending testimonies.  Both Steve and Justin Wong responded to the concerns. Justin shared the results of a recent survey undertaken by the BOD regarding satisfaction with VEBA and EUTF services. The results will be shared with the Speaker of the House and the Senate President when the Lobbying Team meets with them next week.

 Joe Tanaka spoke briefly about the progress of COLA, what it means, and why it is important to obtain equity.

 Our featured speaker, Barabara Woerner, Director of Innovations Public Charter School, enlightened us with how a small group of teachers with a mission to educate the whole child – body, mind and spirit- began an innovative school. Planning started in 2000 and opened to students in grades 1 – 6 in empty classrooms at Kahakai Elementary campus in 2001. Today, Innovations Public Charter School has its own 8 acre campus, housing three classroom buildings above the Queen K Highway, overlooking Kailua town.  Enrollment currently is 185 students including grades 7 and 8. New students are accepted through a public lottery system.  Their curriculum in a theme based approach integrating content to life, work and the future.  Students learn at their own pace in multi-age classrooms.  Art, music, PE and drama are a big part of the program and are taught by trained people in those fields. Community members and parents provide much support. In 2004, 2006, and 2007, Innovations PCS was recognized as a Hawaii Distinguished School.  They have met NCLB academic progress for the past 5 years. Future plans may include high school and college level programs.

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