KEKAHA, Kauai (HawaiiNewsNow) - An historic school will become history.
Ninety-nine years ago, Queen Lydia Lili'uokalani dedicated the school in Kaimuki that bears her name. Supporters of the school pointed to that history, but it wasn't enough to keep it open.
The Board of Education voted 9-0 Thursday at its meeting in Kekaha to close the school as of the end of the current school year. Board member Kim Coco Iwamoto recused herself from the vote.
The Department of Education had said that Liliuokalani school had the lowest performance of the six schools in its district.
A parent of a first-grader said they are remaining optimistic, noting that the board will be replaced soon by one appointed by the governor.
"This temporary board of education has made a tragic mistake," said Lyle Bullock, the parent of a first-grader at the school. "They have rushed to a decision, they did it out of our sight, we never even heard the answers to our questions that were posed at the committee meeting which will affect our children."
"The board basically spat in the face of the kids, the Queen, and Hawaii's education," said Alex Alika Malabey, a spokesman for Friends of Queen Liliuokalani School. "If this board that we elected as the people of Hawaii were good leaders, we would not be closing schools."
Bullock also said it was tragic that the DOE didn't do enough to improve the school.
"This school has provided such a great education, not only from a reading-writing-'rithmetic type of stuff, but also because it is such a family-oriented, close-knit, and it really stresses the things that the Queen wanted for our keiki," he said.
According to the DOE, consolidating the school will save $500,000. Plans call for using the site for offices, a charter school and an autism center. The school's staff will be transferred to other positions. A portion of the students will go to King Liholiho Elementary and others will go to Waialae Public Charter School.
The sign outside the school says it was dedicated by Queen Lydia Lili'uokalani on April 12, 1912. School officials were hoping that the school would remain open to mark its 100th anniversary, but apparently, that will not happen.