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Sunday, April 20, 2014         

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State looks to shut 2 more campuses

Kalihi and Puuhale schools are added to a list for closings

By Mary Vorsino

POSTED:



Add Kalihi and Puuhale elementary schools to the list of low-enrollment campuses being considered for closing as part of state Department of Education cost cutting.

The two schools, identified in a recently released consolidation report for elementary schools in the Farrington High complex, join three schools in East Honolulu also being reviewed for shutting down.

ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK?

Kaiser complex

» Being considered: Close Kamiloiki or Koko Head elementary school.
» Projected savings: $561,436 to $678,903 a year
» Impact: Students from closed school would be transferred to area schools. Kamiloiki Elementary has 369 students; Koko Head Elementary, 273.

Kalani complex

» Being considered: Close Queen Liliuokalani Elementary School.
» Projected savings: $370,000 a year
» Impact: 127 K-6 students would be transferred to neighboring Liholiho and Waialae elementary schools

Farrington complex

» Being considered: Close Kalihi and Puuhale elementary schools.
» Projected savings: $1.5 million a year
» Impact: Puuhale Elementary students would be transferred to Kalihi Kai Elementary, while Kalihi Elementary students would be split between Kalihi Uka and Kaewai elementary schools. Kalihi Elementary has 294 students, while Puuhale has 234.
Source: State Department of Education
A decision on whether to close the schools is months away.

Calvin Nomiyama, complex-area superintendent for the Kaiser, Kalani and Farrington districts, said parents have plenty of time to make their feelings known.

"We're just going through the process," he said. "There's no decision yet."

Public hearings on possible consolidation of the East Honolulu schools -- Queen Liliuokalani Elementary in the Kalani complex and Kamiloiki or Koko Head elementary school in the Kaiser complex -- are expected to be scheduled for mid-December. (A complex consists of a high school and the schools that feed students into it.)

A public hearing on Kalihi and Puuhale elementary schools will likely be held in January.

The Board of Education will make the final call, probably early next year.

State education officials have pledged to consider consolidating the smallest schools as a way to cut costs.

So far, the board has closed Wailupe Valley in East Honolulu and the one-room school at Keanae, Maui.

Haleiwa and Kaaawa elementary schools on Oahu's North Shore, Maunaloa Elementary on Molokai and Kohala Middle on the Big Island have been spared.

The new consolidation report says every elementary school in the Farrington complex, except Linapuni, has an excess of classrooms.

Puuhale, with 234 students, has 10 extra classrooms.

Kalihi Elementary has 294 students and 14 extra classrooms.

Closing Puuhale and Kalihi would be the "least disruptive option," the report says, with Puuhale students transferred to Kalihi Kai Elementary and Kalihi Elementary students split between Kalihi Uka and Kaewai elementary schools.

With transferred students, Kalihi Kai's enrollment would increase by 228 students, to 833. Kaewai's enrollment would increase by 144 students, to 490.

Closing Puuhale and Kalihi would save about $1.5 million a year, the report estimates.

The study notes that a majority of students at all nine Kalihi elementary schools are economically disadvantaged, but it does not say closing them would have a detrimental effect on student achievement.

About 78 percent of students at Puuhale and 80 percent of students at Kalihi are in low-income households.

In contrast, about one-third of students at Liliuokalani, 21 percent of students at Kamiloiki and 16 percent of students at Koko Head are economically disadvantaged.






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