Kamehameha Schools to close Haleiwa preschool - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kamehameha Schools to close Haleiwa preschool

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HALEIWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Kamehameha Schools Community Based Early Childhood Education program has been operating its preschool in Haleiwa for the past 14 years. But the aging two-classroom complex it leases from the Jodo Mission is deteriorating.

"There's no guarantee about when that could progress, and that could result with chips of concrete and other things actually falling," preschool division director Terry Kelly said.

One bathroom had to be closed because of leaks. Kelly said it would take extensive work to renovate the campus, so it's shutting it down in June.

"Its really an emergency situation and sadly a crisis situation," Kelly said.

Each school year the Haleiwa preschool cares for 25 three- and four-year-olds. Kaliko Amona and other parents learned of the closure through a letter.

"To hear it now in March was a shock and puts us in a difficult position planning for what we're going to do next year," she said.

The closing also affects families who applied for the next school year. Students come from as far away as Mililani.

"We talked to many people within a 10- to 15-mile range from Haleiwa to see if there were any alternatives for us and there were none," Kelly said.

Kamehameha will place some returning students at its other preschools in Kahuku, Kahaluu, Kaneohe and Kalihi. But Kelly said that will have a domino effect.

"In order to accommodate those keiki there will be a limited number of seats in some of our other preschools," she said.

Kelly said Kamehameha will lengthen the school day at those campuses for parents who will have to drive farther when the Haleiwa campus closes.

"I think it will be helpful to a lot of the parents to make those options something that can work for those families," Amona said.

Kelly said the Haleiwa campus is safe for now but ensuring the safety of children in the future is why the preschool will close. Kamehameha operates 28 other preschools statewide. They are all undergoing extensive reviews. Kelly said a couple of them may have to be relocated.

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