Charter School Director Reacts To Firing

Dr. Jim Shon
Dr. Jim Shon
Shon Supporters Steve Hirakami and Representative Lynn Finnegan
Shon Supporters Steve Hirakami and Representative Lynn Finnegan
Board of Education Chairman Randall Yee
Board of Education Chairman Randall Yee

Sep 9, 2006 10:35 PM

by  Beth Hillyer

(KHNL) - Dr. James Shon says he didn't see it coming, but now that he's been let go, he only has words of encouragement for those involved with Hawaii's successful charter schools.

Hawaii's Charter School Ohana is without a leader.

Shon Supporter Steve Hirakami says, "He's been our leader. It's been nice to have a leader and go back to the job of educating our kids."

Representative Lynn Finnegan has kids in the program, "Charter Schools are supposed to flourish under the innovation of not being held with this tight grasp around their neck and what you just did by firing their executive director is chopped off their head."

Shon holds his head high. Not reflecting on his firing, rather his charter school family.

Shon says, "In the past two days the outpouring of aloha and support has been really heart warming."

There are some six-thousand students enrolled and some schools have a waiting list.

Shon adds, "It's been a dream job. There has been a lot of progress made in past few years. Per pupil funding has gone up from 5-thousand to 75-hundred dollars."

Supporters say as a reflection of Shon's success, the test scores are up. Still there are many obstacles in the five year old program.

"It is a tough job because the accountability arm and I was also the support services voice for charter schools so I was caught in the middle a little bit, adds Shon."

Board of Education Chairman Randall Yee is not saying why members voted to fire Shon. "In terms of the board decision, deliberation we felt we wanted to go in a different direction."

As supporters call for his reinstatement,

Shon says he simply wants the program to move forward, "The things that brings passion to the movement is all those people that you've seen in the he last few days. They are absolutely devoted to their kids they aren't going to mope off in the corner they are going to continue educating those kids to the best they can bring those schools forward. "

The board members are looking for an interim executive director.