$101K in suspicious spending by charter school

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HONOLULU (AP) — A financially troubled Honolulu charter school had more than $101,000 in questionable spending, the Public Charter School Commission said.

Details are emerging about how Halau Lokahi Charter School spent money before running out of funds last school year and stopped paying rent and payroll.

The commission flagged more than $101,000 in expenditures as "needing explanation," the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://ow.ly/G7y71 ) reported Thursday. According to the commission, the school made out checks ranging from $856 to $21,347 without indicating which services were provided. Other payments included more than $8,500 for Rainbow Healing Arts, which provides massages, and nearly $5,000 to a purveyor of essential oils.

Debit cards for the school's bank account have been canceled and the co-director is on administrative leave after a raid by the state attorney general's office.

Co-director Callei Allbrett was put on unpaid leave earlier this month. She was business manager and became co-director after her mother, Laura Allbrett, the school's founder and longtime director, was forced to resign.

"The real story is about the struggles and challenges of Hawaii's native people," Callei Allbrett told the newspaper. She said the school was supposed "to be free from bureaucratic red tape."

The school stopped paying rent and salaries and ran up $500,000 in debt before the end of last school year.

The charter commission demanded a change in leadership before giving the school a new annual contract. In an effort to restructure, a new board plans to lay off the entire staff and rebuild with a smaller group of employees.


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

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