Recently the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii and Smart Business Hawaii held the 2009 DOE Trim the Fat contest. The goal was to encourage the citizens of Hawaii to identify innovative ways of cutting DOE costs without resorting to employee furloughs or layoffs.
To get the word out, I hoped to enlist the help of the Hawaii State Teachers Association. After all, if anyone knows where we can trim the budget it would be teachers, right? And since teachers face potential furloughs, they have an added incentive to submit their ideas.
Unfortunately, my call to the HSTA public relations manager was met with sarcasm, insult, and an abrupt ending. “You want us to put out information about your little publicity stunt? Why would we ever help you?”
We do not need the help of the HSTA. In just a few days we’ve received dozens of contest entries that could help save the DOE hundreds of millions of dollars if implemented. But in an effort to help teachers and other DOE employees come up with ways to help themselves, we put aside politics and reached out to an unlikely ally. It’s a shame that the HSTA, which claims to represent the best interest of teachers, refused to do the same.
We hope all DOE employees took advantage of this contest and its prizes and we hope they will continue to send us cost saving ideas. Together we can help avoid furloughs and layoffs by cutting wasteful spending and providing innovative ideas to make our education system the very best it can be.