Charter school overrun by lava holds out hope for emergency disaster funds

Updated: Aug. 10, 2018 at 6:24 PM HST
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PUNA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kua O Ka La public charter school on the Big Island could get some money back through emergency disaster funds.

The State's Budget and Finance Office will review the additional costs the school is incurring to lease space in Hilo after their Puna property was covered by lava last month.

Susie Osborne, head of the school, says that would be a relief since the Hawaii Department of Education does not provide facility funding for charter schools.

Kua O Ka La signed a multi-year lease to keep the approximately 110 elementary students at Nani Mau Gardens.

The approximately 50 middle and high school students will spend the current school year at the Boys and Girls Club of Big Island.

The Boys and Girls Club had to get extra insurance because of the additional students on the property, and the facility will now have to be open all day, where it used to only open in the afternoon.

There are also additional costs for trash removal, utilities and supplies.

"As a struggling non profit for over 65 years, we know struggle," says Chad Cabral, CEO of the club, "To accommodate Kua O Ka La for the entire academic school year it's going to equate to around $60,000 and it's something that we haven't budgeted for in our new fiscal year."

Cabral didn't want to charge Kua O Ka La, but says the Boys and Girls Club didn't have much of choice.

Osborne says she is just grateful that the club was available and that it was already set up for the students.

She understands the need to help cover expenses. "This weighs heavily on my heart ... it's like being in someone's home, you don't want to impose."

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