3 former Honolulu charter school officials arrested - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

3 former Honolulu charter school officials arrested

Image source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser via State Sheriff Division Image source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser via State Sheriff Division

Halau Lokahi continues to operate and teach dozens of students even though state funding for the charter school has been pulled and the Charter School Commission is in the process of revoking its license.

The charter school's founder and longtime director Laara Allbrett, her son and former teacher at the school Adam K. Bright, and his girlfriend, Rochelle Marie Tavares, who was the school's former accounting clerk have all been arrested for first-degree theft, money laundering and illegal business activity surrounding the school's finances.

The state stopped funding the school at the end of January, essentially laying off all the teachers.

Still, 62 students come to school every day.

The executive director of the Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission says he is not sure who is teaching them.

"The staff has all been laid off but some members are still there I guess volunteering. They may have made some arrangements with an online provider that wanted to make a deal with the school to provide some of the instruction online but it's not entirely clear who's delivering instruction now and what their qualifications are," said Tom Hutton.

In November, investigators with the Attorney General's office raided the charter school. The search warrant affidavit listed questionable spending totaling nearly $102,000. The school stopped paying rent and salaries, running up $500,000 in debt before last school year ended.

Hutton says the commission is strongly urging parents to take their kids out because they run the risk of their child not getting academic credit for the semester.

"We've urged the parents to do the right thing for their kids in the short run, get them safely to another school,” Hutton said.

However, parents like Randy Shiraishi say his child loves the Hawaiian culture-focused school. So he is just going to ride it out.

"I think the school is entitled to due process, there's a legal process by which the commission has to go through to revoke the charter,” Shiraishi said.

“The parents feel we have a right to be here, we believe in the school and until the legal process is resolved and there is no other choice, we're gonna come to school. We believe in the school," he said.

All three of the school's former staff members have not been formally charged. We're told board members are vowing to fight the state's decision to revoke the school's charter contract. But that could take months to resolve.

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