Days after getting evictions, Lanai teachers are told they can stay in state-run housing

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Published: Feb. 2, 2022 at 7:39 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 2, 2022 at 7:57 PM HST
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LANAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A big sigh of relief for some teachers on Lanai who were told they were being evicted from state-run housing.

After several days of confusion and fear, state Department of Education officials said they can stay.

“You try teaching a class knowing that you got an eviction notice,” said Sen. Lynn DeCoite. “Some of these teachers have been there for a long time, they’ve set up grassroots.”

Five Lanai High and Elementary School teachers, who live in DOE housing, received an eviction notice last week.

They are on month-to-month leases and are supposedly limited to five years.

However, with housing so limited of Lanai, that rule has never been enforced before.

“To have these veteran teachers ripped from this community, they have nowhere to go, there is no housing on Lanai,” said Hawaii State Teachers Association President Osa Tui.

With the lack of housing on island, a major teacher shortage, and in a pandemic, many wondered why the five-year limit is suddenly being enforced.

DOE officials said in the past, those eviction notices have always been waived by the principal.

However, school leadership recently changed and the new principal did not request that waiver this year.

“We want to make sure that we have the conversation directly with the administration and the principal themselves,” DeCoite said. “Why did this happen? We need to know that first and foremost. There’s a lot sketchy on details that have come in.”

DOE officials told HNN on Wednesday afternoon the evictions will not happen, and they are working on getting follow-up letters out to the teachers.

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