Hawaii Lawmakers: How Much Will School Bus Overhaul Cost Us?

Nathan Eagle/Honolulu Civil Beat

After reviewing a consultant's study that some hoped would be the silver bullet to bring down soaring student transportation costs, state lawmakers left a legislative briefing Wednesday still wondering how much money the Department of Education will be able to save through the recommended policy changes.

Hawaii school officials said they're still not ready to take on a sweeping reforms of state laws this coming session, but they will need an extra $8 million to buy them another year so they can implement some of the fundamental changes needed to fix the program over the long term.

A seven-member panel, led by Senate Education Chair Jill Tokuda and House Education Vice Chair Della Au Belatti, grilled Assistant Superintendent Ray L'Heureux, who oversees bus services, and Tim Ammon, who works for the firm that recently finished a two-month study of the DOE's transportation program.

The legislators wanted to know what laws, if any, they may need to address when session starts in January and how much money the department thinks it needs to undergo the complete system overhaul recommended by Management Partnership Services.

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