Superintendent’s fate still unknown as BOE defers vote

Local News

HONOLULU(KHON2) — Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s fate has yet to be decided after a crucial vote on whether to keep her in her job was postponed on Thursday, March 4.

The Board of Education’s (BOE) human resources committee deferred their vote after heated testimony against renewing her contract.

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BOE chair Catherine Payne said, they needed more time.

“This is such a critical topic,” Payne explained. “I think the board needs to have time to fully discuss the issues.”

The Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) said, the vote basically would have sealed her fate — though it would not have been the final decision.

“Since most of the members serve on the human resources committee, there’s just one member that doesn’t, we’d pretty much know what the board’s thinking,” Rosenlee said.

Rosenlee added, the HSTA maintains its position after the deferral that the BOE should not renew the superintendent’s contract.

Testimony from countless teachers and a number of unions and organizations largely opposed keeping Kishimoto on.

Special Education teacher Rebecca Hadley Slosher said, Kishimoto proved that “she doesn’t care about her employees,” over the course of the year.

Some have said Kishimoto is being unfairly criticized for her handling of the pandemic. He’e Coalition director Sherry Nakamura disagreed.

“We believe the pandemic was the superintendent’s opportunity to rise to the challenge and provide the leadership that we needed to get our schools through this crisis and do the best job for our students, but the superintendent did not provide effective leadership,” Nakamura said.

“If there is no confidence in our leader,” Nakamura continued, “There is no way our system will thrive.”

Kishimoto did receive two letters of written testimony in her favor.

Hilo parent and substitute teacher Blaine Stuart, wrote:
“Kishimoto is willing to stand up for the children and public. she deserves a chance to stand up to union demands…let her finish her job.”

Kishimoto also presented her plan to reopen schools in the fourth quarter.

“I have not announced that we are opening up on March 22 that is not possible,” Kishimoto explained.

She said, she plans to gradually reopen schools and that she is doing so with guidance from the Health Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The BOE plans to make a final decision whether to renew Kishimoto’s contract within the next two weeks.

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