By Derrick DePledge
Hung up over state construction spending, state House and Senate negotiators have pushed deliberations on the state budget to Friday, the deadline to have bills ready for final votes next week before the session adjourns.
Several important capital improvement projects are still on the table, including $40 million for a conservation easement to preserve land near Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore.
Sen. David Ige, the lead Senate budget negotiator, said he is prepared to enforce the Friday deadline on bills.
Ige and Rep. Sylvia Luke, the lead House negotiator, did announce several significant spending decisions during conference committee on Wednesday:
*$3 million for Gov. Neil Abercrombie's limited preschool program at select public schools.
*$15 million in additional money for the student spending formula at public schools.
*$2 million to restore funding for student athletics.
*$19.5 million to cover pay raises for University of Hawaii faculty.
*$14 million in special funds -- which will come from tuition money -- for salary restoration for university faculty.