Private School Interest Increases - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Private School Interest Increases

Betsy Hata Betsy Hata
Betsy Hata Betsy Hata
Stuart Hirstein Stuart Hirstein

By Kristine Uyeno

KAPOLEI (KHNL) - Hundreds of thousands of kids will return to public schools next week.

But public school enrollment continues to decline, and some believe a part of the reason, is more kids are going to private institutions.

"I didn't want to subject my kids to what I went through and what I see kids go through now," said Daniel Yamamura, parent.

That means sending his children to Island Pacific Academy, Oahu's newest private school. It's only 3 years old, but enrollment has increased 212% since 2004.

"I think there's an interest in private schools on this side of the island but I also think it's an additional choice for families," said Stuart Hirstein, associate headmaster.

Older, private schools, such as Punahou, are also receiving more interest and competition is fierce.

"This year, we had 2,370 applications for the 492 spots or so that we've had," said Betsy Hata, admissions director.

Punahou School received 200 more applications this year. But administrators will accept only about 25-percent of the kids who apply.

"We look also at their interview process, their writing sample, their teacher report as well as their progress report, report cards," said Hata.

Both schools say they accept students who are well-rounded. They advise applicants to act naturally and be themselves during the admissions process.

Not only has interest and enrollment at private schools increased, but tuition has as well.

High school students at Island Pacific Academy pay just under $12,000 per year. Punahou charges nearly $16,000 a year.

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