Struggling charter school raided by state investigators - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Struggling charter school raided by state investigators

Halau Lokahi Charter School Expenses Halau Lokahi Charter School Expenses
KALIHI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Investigators with the Attorney General's office carried out boxes of files, a cooler, and a computer from the Halau Lokahi Public Charter School, Tuesday morning.

The financially strapped school is more than $400,000 in debt and now there are questions about expenses totaling $101,973.33. 

The money was spent in the 2013-2014 school year.  A summary obtained by Hawaii News Now, shows items like healing oils bought with school money. Acupuncture sessions were also on the list. And there are cash withdrawals that lack documentation.

"There may be some explanation about how this is tied to the educational program to the school but we just didn't have that information," says Tom Hutton with the Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission. It was his office that notified the Attorney General's office.

"We're not passing judgement now, but somebody should look at this," he says.

Since the bizarre purchases were made, the school has gotten new board members and a new principal. And there is a new financial plan to help the school get out of debt. That plan includes laying off all 18 employees next month and hiring a smaller staff to start in January.

"If the school is struggling financially and there are expenditures that are questionable... you have to address those things if you're going to get the school to a financial recovery," says Hutton.

Halau Lokahi has about 150 students. Classes were not canceled because of the search warrant, but staff members say it was a distraction. The latest of many.

Copyright 2014 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.  

Powered by Frankly