Justia Hawaii Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Education Law
Clarabal v. State
In this suit filed by a mother living on the island of Lana'i and her two school-age daughters, the Supreme Court held that the State was constitutionally required to make all reasonable efforts to provide access to Hawaiian immersion education.Article X, section 4 of the Hawai'i Constitution imposes on the State a duty to provide for a Hawaiian education program in public schools that is reasonably calculated to revive the Hawaiian language. Today, there are Hawaiian immersion schools on five of the major Hawaiian Islands, but no such program exists on the island of Lana'i. Plaintiffs argued that the provision of the Constitution obligating the State to provide for a Hawaiian education program in public schools requires the State to provide her daughters with access to a public Hawaiian immersion education. The Supreme Court agreed and vacated the circuit court's judgment insofar as it granted the State's motion for partial summary judgment, holding that providing reasonable access to Hawaiian immersion education is currently essential to reviving the Hawaiian language, and therefore, it is a necessary component of any program that is reasonably calculated to achieve that goal. View "Clarabal v. State" on Justia Law
Hawai’i Technology Academy v. L.E.
The Hawai’i Civil Rights Commission (HCRC) did not have jurisdiction under Haw. Rev. Stat. 368-1.5 over this claim that a student was subject to disability discrimination and improper denial of reasonable accommodations and modifications to take an online grade-level placement exam required of homeschooled students applying for entrance to Hawai’i Technology Academy, a public charter school.Here, the HCRC determined that it had jurisdiction over the student’s parent’s claim under section 368-1.5 regarding the denial of reasonable accommodations. The circuit court reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the legislature intended section 368-1.5 to provide the HCRC with jurisdiction over disability discrimination claims only when section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 does not apply; and (2) section 504 did apply to the HCRC complaint in this case. View "Hawai’i Technology Academy v. L.E." on Justia Law
Posted in: Education Law
Boyd v. Haw. State Ethics Comm’n
In 2010 and 2012, the Commission issued charges against William Boyd, a charter school employee, for alleged violations of Haw. Rev. Stat. 84-14 that occurred in 2006 and 2007. Boyd filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the Commission lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate proceedings against him because he was not an employee of the State subject to the code of ethics contained in Haw. Rev. Stat. Chapter 84. The Commission denied Boyd’s motion and concluded that Boyd was an “employee” as defined in Haw. Rev. Stat. 84-3. The Commission then concluded that Boyd committed several violations of Chapter 84 and imposed a total administrative fine of $10,000. The circuit court affirmed the Commission’s determination that Boyd as an “employee” under section 84-3 and was thus subject to the code of ethics in Chapter 84. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) affirmed the determination. The Supreme Court vacated the lower courts’ judgments and the Commission’s decision and order, holding (1) in accordance with Haw. Rev. Stat. 302B-9(a), charter school employees were exempt from Haw. Rev. Stat. 84-14 at the relevant time period in this case; and (2) therefore, the Commission did not have the authority to adjudicate the proceedings against Boyd. View "Boyd v. Haw. State Ethics Comm’n" on Justia Law
Haw. State Teachers Ass’n v. Univ. Lab. Sch.
The Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) filed a grievance against the University Laboratory School (ULS), alleging that the ULS refused to implement the proper salary placement for teachers as agreed to in a supplemental agreement negotiated by the HSTA and the Hawaii Board of Education. The ULS argued that the step placement chart the HSTA sought to enforce had never been agreed upon or incorporated into the agreement. The HSTA subsequently filed a grievance and a motion to compel arbitration of its grievance. The circuit court denied the HSTA’s motion to compel arbitration. The intermediate court of appeals concluded that the circuit court did not err in denying HSTA’s motion, determining that the Hawaii Labor Relations Board had primary jurisdiction over the issues raised in the HSTA’s grievance and that the HSTA’s motion to compel arbitration was premature. The Supreme Court vacated the ICA’s judgment, holding that because the parties agreed to leave questions of arbitrability to the arbitrator, the circuit court erred in refusing to grant the HSTA’s motion to compel arbitration after concluding that an arbitration agreement existed. Remanded. View "Haw. State Teachers Ass’n v. Univ. Lab. Sch." on Justia Law
State Teachers Ass’n v. Abercrombie
Governor Linda Lingle filed an executive order unilaterally imposing three-day-per-month furloughs for all state employees and reducing the Department of Education's and University of Hawaii's spending accordingly. The Hawaii State Teachers Association and United Public Workers (collectively, Plaintiffs) brought this action, asserting several causes of action and moving for a temporary restraining order. The circuit court granted in part Plaintiff's motion for a temporary injunction and held for Plaintiffs. The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court's judgment, holding (1) the dispute in this case ultimately related to a prohibited practice pursuant to Haw. Rev. Stat. 89; and (2) the circuit court erred by deciding statutory issues over which the Hawaii Labor Relations Board had exclusive jurisdiction. View "State Teachers Ass'n v. Abercrombie" on Justia Law