STATE OF HAWAII
BOARD OF EDUCATION
SPECIAL MEETING

MINUTES

Thursday, March 18, 2021

*The Board did not meet at a physical location. As part of the response to the threat of COVID-19, Governor David Ige issued a Eighteenth Supplementary Proclamation dated February 12, 2021, suspending Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 92, Public Agency Meetings and Records, to the extent necessary to enable boards as defined in Section 92-2, to conduct meetings without any board members or members of the public physically present in the same location, among other things.


PRESENT:
Catherine Payne, Chairperson
Kenneth Uemura, Vice Chairperson
Shanty Asher
Kaimana Barcarse
Margaret Cox
Lynn Fallin
Kili Namauʻu
Dwight Takeno
Bruce Voss
Hunter Harris, Student Representative


EXCUSED:
Captain Lyn Yatko, Military Representative


ALSO PRESENT:
Alison Kunishige, Executive Director
Kenyon Tam, Board Analyst
Regina Pascua, Executive Secretary
Lady Garrett, Secretary


  1. Call to Order


Board Chairperson Catherine Payne called the Board of Education (“Board”) Special Meeting to order at 1:31 p.m.

II. Action Items


Board Chairperson Payne called for public testimony on this agenda item.


Cheri Nakamura, HEʻE Coalition, testified in support of the recommendation to form a superintendent search investigative committee and expressed support to appoint an interim superintendent who would not be eligible for the permanent position in order to build confidence among principals, teachers and community members and to stabilize the system. She stated the person selected for the interim superintendent position should be an effective listener and communicator that can work on a strategic, systematic approach to school improvement.


Board Chairperson Payne explained that the recommendation provides background on the matter and establishes an investigative committee, permitted interaction group pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 92-2.5(b)(1).


Board Member Kaimana Barcarse moved to:


Board Chairperson Payne called for a roll call vote on the motion. The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye (Board Vice Chairperson Uemura, Board Members Asher, Barcarse, Cox, Fallin, Namauʻu, Takeno, and Voss).

Board Member Margaret Cox requested the dates for upcoming investigative committee meetings. Board Chairperson Payne stated that the investigative committee will set its meeting dates right away.

Board Vice Chairperson Kenneth Uemura expressed support for the investigative committee and noted that the selection of the new superintendent is time sensitive. He asked if it would be appropriate to require the investigative committee to report on its recommendation no later than April 15, 2021. Board Chairperson Payne replied that the request and timeline is reasonable and she understands the sense of urgency to move forward.

Board Vice Chairperson Uemura recommended that the Board not task the investigative committee with the selection of an interim superintendent. He stated that the Board should task group conducting the superintendent search with selecting the interim superintendent because the interim superintendent will be in place during a critical transition period for the Department of Education (“Department”). He also stated that the interim superintendent will address significant issues, including COVID-19 issues, communication concerns, budget shortfalls, use of federal funds, so the selection process for the interim superintendent is as important as selecting a new superintendent and should be given the same consideration. He also stated that the interim superintendent could potentially become the new superintendent, so if the Board tasks this investigative committee with recommending an interim superintendent the work cannot be completed by April 15, 2021 because it is an engaged process.

Board Member Lynn Fallin noted that with the start of the next school year and pending budget issues it will be helpful to have an overall timeline of this process. She stated that the Board can define the process without presuming what will be brought back from the investigative committee in terms of recommendations.

Board Chairperson Payne agreed that the timeline will be critical and that unanticipated issues may arise. She also stated that she currently believes that the interim superintendent should not be an individual who intends to apply for the permanent position because of public perception that the individual will have an unfair advantage.

Board Member Cox stated that if the Board adopts this prohibition, if the interim superintendent is doing a good job then the Board is saying up front the interim superintendent cannot be hired for the permanent position. She stated the Board needs to put an interim superintendent in place as soon as possible because schools need to complete planning for the next school year before summer. She emphasized it is imperative to have a good plan to reopen schools in the fall because there have already been problems with opening schools to more in-person learning in the current school year and an interim superintendent needs a clear plan to help students address learning loss with clear directions from Department leadership.

Board Chairperson Payne stated that part of the rationale for not having the interim superintendent eligible for the permanent position is so the interim superintendent can focus on reopening schools.

Board Vice Chairperson Uemura stated that if the Board adopts this restriction, the Board limits its pool of candidates and that he is not in favor of prohibiting the interim superintendent from applying for the permanent position.


Board Chairperson Payne explained that the investigative committee will consider the Board’s comments and that the current motion does not prohibit the interim superintendent from applying for the permanent superintendent position.


Board Member Fallin requested that the Board focus on the timeline, including the superintendent’s selection and that target dates be outlined in a strategic way that provides holistic direction.


Board Student Representative Hunter Harris stated that during the previous superintendent search process the Hawaii State Student Council (“HSSC”) had an opportunity to meet with the candidates the Board was considering for the position. He expressed support for the HSSC to have the opportunity to meet candidates again for the current superintendent search process. Board Student Representative Harris asked if the investigative committee will be selecting a superintendent and making its recommendation to the Board. Board Chairperson Payne replied there will be two groups: one investigative committee will set up the process and timeline, then another investigative committee will be formed to engage in the search process.


Board Chairperson Payne called for a roll call vote on the motion. The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye (Board Vice Chairperson Uemura, Board Members Asher, Barcarse, Cox, Fallin, Namauʻu, Takeno, and Voss).


ACTION: Motion to:

The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye.

III. Late Public Testimony on Board Agenda Items


Board Chairperson Payne called for public testimony from any individuals who did not have an opportunity to testify on earlier agenda items.


Susan Pcola-Davis, member of the public, testified on the investigative committee (a permitted interaction group tasked with the interim superintendent transition timeline and process and asked if the interim superintendent will take over in April 2021 or if the Board will wait until the current superintendent’s contract ends July 31, 2021. She also stated that the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation funded the search firm used in the last search, but that there needs to be more Board participation because each Board member is responsible for the search process.


Board Members received written testimony before the meeting. The following is a listing of the people who submitted written testimony before the meeting.


Name
Organization
Agenda Item
Lois YamauchiParents for Public Schools of HawaiiII. A. Board Action on Investigative Committee (a permitted interaction group pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 92-2.5(b)(1) investigating issues relating to the search for a superintendent, including transition timeline and process, recommendation for an interim superintendent, search timeline and process, and composition of group conducting search
Anita SoldwichII. A. Board Action on Investigative Committee (a permitted interaction group pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 92-2.5(b)(1) investigating issues relating to the search for a superintendent, including transition timeline and process, recommendation for an interim superintendent, search timeline and process, and composition of group conducting search
Cheri NakamuraHEʻE CoalitionII. A. Board Action on Investigative Committee (a permitted interaction group pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 92-2.5(b)(1) investigating issues relating to the search for a superintendent, including transition timeline and process, recommendation for an interim superintendent, search timeline and process, and composition of group conducting search
Naomi MatsuzakiHEMSAA Executive DirectorII. A. Board Action on Investigative Committee (a permitted interaction group pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 92-2.5(b)(1) investigating issues relating to the search for a superintendent, including transition timeline and process, recommendation for an interim superintendent, search timeline and process, and composition of group conducting search
Susan Pcola-DavisII. A. Board Action on Investigative Committee (a permitted interaction group pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 92-2.5(b)(1) investigating issues relating to the search for a superintendent, including transition timeline and process, recommendation for an interim superintendent, search timeline and process, and composition of group conducting search
Sly ClutchII. A. Board Action on Investigative Committee (a permitted interaction group pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 92-2.5(b)(1) investigating issues relating to the search for a superintendent, including transition timeline and process, recommendation for an interim superintendent, search timeline and process, and composition of group conducting search
Elynne ChungII. A. Board Action on Investigative Committee (a permitted interaction group pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 92-2.5(b)(1) investigating issues relating to the search for a superintendent, including transition timeline and process, recommendation for an interim superintendent, search timeline and process, and composition of group conducting search
IV. Adjournment


Board Chairperson Payne adjourned the meeting at 2:00 p.m.