HONOLULU - Hawaii legislators charged with negotiating the state budget have agreed to a $23.8 billion biennium budget proposal - including $130 million for the Kihei high school.
State Sen. Roz Baker, who represents South and West Maui, reported Tuesday night that the long-awaited high school received its full funding for the 2015 fiscal year, which means the school can be built all at once instead of in phases.
This will mean a savings of between $20 million and $25 million to the state - the cost of a new elementary school, Baker said Tuesday evening. Like Kamalii Elementary, which was built by Maui developer Everett Dowling, the school will be put out to bid in its entirety.
"On July 1, 2015, the department can go full steam ahead," she said in an email.
"Mahalo to Representative (Kaniela) Ing and our good friends who chair the House Finance and Senate Ways and Means committees and the governor for putting it in his budget," she said in the email.
Although the governor requested $130 million, it appeared at times during the legislative session that the high school would receive only a portion of the money and be built in phases.
"What a first session it has been," said Ing, who represents South Maui, in an email Tuesday night, while complimenting Baker. "It feels great to be a member of such a strong Maui team."
Baker also reported that the agreed upon budget includes $20 million for the purchase of Lipoa Point on the west side from Maui Land & Pineapple Co. During recent General Plan discussions, groups sought to have the coastal lands surrounding and north of Honolua Bay designated for conservation from agriculture. ML&P resisted, saying the change would jeopardize pension agreements for its workers.
The $23.8 billion state budget proposal falls about $262 million short of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's request.
A committee made up of House and Senate negotiators approved the bill Tuesday evening, along with budget proposals for the Judiciary and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
The state budget includes more than $3 billion for capital improvement projects, including more than $400 million for school infrastructure repairs. Lawmakers also announced millions in funding for health care, education and nonprofits.