Task force leans towards Wailupe school closure

Tyler Rea
Tyler Rea
Cary Miyashiro
Cary Miyashiro

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Save our school.  It's a sentiment shared by almost a hundred people Wednesday night against the proposed closure of Wailupe Valley Elementary School. A task force studied the closure and unveiled its results.

On Wednesday, it was time for parents and the public to give their input before school officials make their recommendation.

The report shows closing Wailupe Valley and switching students and needed staff to nearby Aina Haina Elementary would save the state $800,000.  But parents argue that savings may come at the cost of their kid's education.

"Real disbelief that we're here in America talking about closing schools," said a parent.

They're frustrated and feeling angry.

"Enrollment is dropping but it's being sabotaged," said a parent.

And eager to show support for nearly 80 students at the Wailupe Valley School.

"I would choose Wailupe over any private school," said Parent Brandy Rea.

Brandy Rea wants re-evaluation.

"I hope that the DOE prioritizes small schools even in this hard time they look at alternatives," said Rea.

Her fourth grade son loves his small school.

"The art teacher is really good, she teaches us how to shade," said student Tyler Rea.

But before the task force is a big decision.

"It's two-sided, the more and more we look at it, we have more parents that want it closed," said Task Force Chair Cary Miyashiro.

Wailupe faces declining enrollment and increasing expenses.

"Right now if you look at the data that was collected, everything points to closing it," said Miyashiro.

Permanently sending students and some staff to nearby Aina Haina Elementary.

"I'm hoping that this is not the trend that we eliminate smalls schools and just mainstream, institutionalize the kids in public schools," said Rea.

The findings of this group will go onto the area superintendent. His decision, along with that of State Schools Superintendent Pat Hamamoto will all be considered by board education members who ultimately have the final say. But parents like Rea hope the decision is to stay open.

The task force says its recommendation will be based on what's best for the students and not parents or teachers.

The board of education says there's no time table for a final decision, but it hopes to have one before the next school year.