As parents, Mark and Sami know the importance and value of a good education. He helped lead the effort to end Furlough Fridays and recently helped to preserve school bus service for our students. He has worked to increase school-level decision-making,to decrease administrative bureaucracy, and to ensure adequate funding for programs and school facilities. Since 2003, he has helped the Hawaii Department of Education obtain more than $40 million in increased federal impact aid funds.These funds go directly to pay operational expenses such as utilities and staff salaries.
Mark also helped create a free, internet-based program that focuses on math, reading, and language arts for children across the nation. This program also provides free SAT and ACT prep courses for college-bound students.
Mark believes that learning continues past high school. To assist parents in their children's college planning, he passed a bill that created HI 529, Hawaii's college savings program.
Mark has focused his efforts in our community's schools. He has backed his commitment to our community schools by donating more than $20,000 in scholarships and educational grants. Since 1996, he has awarded 34 high school scholarships, more than 40 intermediate school awards and more than 600 student awards at our elementary schools.
In September 2003, children celebrated the effort that brought in $3.5 million in federal funds. To date, the effort that Mark coordinates has brought in more than $40 million into the Hawaii public schools. Since 1996, Mark has also sponsored an educational grant program, which recognizes and supports teachers. Since its inception, Mark's grant program has awarded a total of $12,200 to teachers.