Incoming schools superintendent at center of controversy

Published: Jun. 15, 2017 at 1:12 AM HST|Updated: Jun. 15, 2017 at 1:12 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The woman chosen to lead Hawaii's public schools isn't sitting well with her current school district.

Christina Kishimoto is at the center of a nearly $1 million controversy with her current district, located just outside of Phoenix, Ariz.

In a report just made public, auditors found her district was over-counting enrollment figures. Because schools get money based on student attendance, the state overpaid the district $962,767. Now the state of Arizona wants that money back.

"I don't believe it was intentional," said Julie Smith, Former Gilbert Public Schools Board Member. "If the audit is done and the appeal is done and the state says no the district has to pay it. Responsibility does stop with the superintendent," said Smith.

Smith says the overcounting started before Kishimoto took over as superintendent and continued the two years she was there.

Prior to Kishimoto's selection by Hawaii's Board of Education, there were questions about her resume.

Critics claimed she clashed with her current school board. Hawaii News Now also learned another school district in Connecticut didn't renew her contract. At the time the board called the information "inconsequential" and "invalid."

Hawaii News Now spent Wednesday reaching out to members of the Board of Education. Bruce Voss did respond, saying he hadn't heard about the audit and had no comment.

We also reached out Kishimoto asking for an interview, but have not gotten a response.

Her last day in her current district is June 30.  Her first day as Hawaii's new superintendent is August 1.

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