Voters could play major role in future of Hawaii’s school system

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Next week, tens of thousands of students across the state will go back to class.

But the start of new school year comes as a new report ranks Hawaii’s school system as one of the worst in the country.

According to finance website WalletHub, Hawaii comes in 39th in the list of the best to worst school systems.

While the state ranked 13th for safety, it came in 41st for quality.

One of the reasons for the poor ranking was low test scores. 

Researchers say more money may be key to turning around failing school systems. 

This year voters will be asked to answer a question that could play a key role in making that happen. 

Appearing on ballots for November’s general election, will be this question: “Shall the legislature be authorized to establish, as provided by law, a surcharge on investment real property to be used to support public education?”

Basically, should people who own more than one property, be taxed more and that money be given to our school system?

For the 2019 fiscal year, the Department of Education’s budget is nearly $2 billion.

According to the DOE, in 2016 it’s per-pupil spending is upwards of $13,700.

That’s about $2,000 more than the national average. 

However, many other school systems aren’t dealing with the high cost of living we are.

What is not specified in the ballot question is what types of investment properties will be taxed.

Will it just be million dollar beach homes or $300,000 condos?

If voters approve the measure, it will be up to legislators to figure that out as well as how much the surcharge will be. 

But will more money really solve all the issues in Hawaii’s education system? It hasn’t for Washington, DC.

According to the latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics, it spends an average of more than $20,000 per student.

It’s 49th on WalletHub’s ranking, making it one of the worse school systems in the country.

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