HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawaiian studies public charter school remains on the brink of closure. Besides getting out of debt and boosting enrollment Halau Lokahi has to replace its administration.
Halau Lokahi in Kalihi has until Monday to decide if the school's director and all board members will resign. If not the school will lose all public funding and close.
Some of the testimony in support of the school was at times disrespectful. Staff blamed the messenger, in this case the Charter School Commission Executive Director Tom Hutton for recommending the school close. New numbers showed the school is at least $427,000 in debt plus more expenses that haven't been accounted for. Teachers haven't been paid since the end of May and rent hasn't been paid since February.
The Public Charter School Commission began to take exception saying it wasn't to blame for the school's financial problems. The vice chair pointed out that there are 31 other charter schools making it work, but Halau Lokahi continues to have problems with money.
"I find it hard to take, people vent wrongly and assume wrongly that we don't care and that's so far from the truth," said Peter Tomozawa, State Public Charter School Commission Vice Chair. "You have to steer the ship. The canoe has to be paddled. It has to have a direction. If that direction is endangering the livelihood of that school, of the charter school system then responsibility needs to be taken."
At one point a group of teachers said if the school leadership is gone they will leave too. The commission said that would be a travesty if the staff walks out.
Then the Commission decided that the school community can choose three of the new board members. The other two would be nominated by the commission. However the School Director Laara Allbrett must still resign.
The school has until Monday, the last day possible by law, to accept the condition and sign the contract or else the school will close.