Conditions set for troubled charter school

By The Associated Press | Posted - Jun. 19, 2014 at 12:41 p.m.



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HONOLULU (AP) — A financially troubled Honolulu school can continue only if its board and director resign and turn over financial records, the Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission decided Wednesday.

The commission voted unanimously to end Halau Lokahi Public Charter School if the changes are not made, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://bit.ly/1pmU1SM) reported.

The school opened in 2001 with a Hawaiian-focused curriculum. It has run up debts of $417,000. It stopped paying rent in February and stopped paying teachers June 5.

Director Laara Allbrett oversees a staff of 23, which includes five members of her family. Allbrett and the chairwoman of Halau Lokahi's governing board, June Nagasawa, departed from the meeting without comment.

The commission plans a forensic audit of the school financial records, said commission Chairwoman Catherine Payne after the meeting.

"We are asking the governing board to resign effective upon the appointment of a new governing board, which we will appoint in consultation with the school community," she said.

The commission will offer the Kalihi school a new contract if there's new leadership and a financial plan that projects enrollment of 225 students and repayment of debts. Without those conditions, the school will end, according to the commission vote.

The campus in 2013 ended a relationship with a contractor that provided online courses, and enrollment dropped by 50 students to just 183 at the start of the school year. The school had 169 students enrolled as of last week.

Allbrett and the school accounting consultant on Wednesday presented financial plans that relied on an increase in enrollment and a possible bailout from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to cover debt.

Parents, teachers and staff last week urgently requested that the commission keep the school open. They said it had helped Hawaii children through project-based learning infused with Hawaiian culture.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

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