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Liliuokalani Elementary recommended for closure; Puuhale saved

By Mary Vorsino

LAST UPDATED: 6:12 p.m. HST, Feb 24, 2011


A Board of Education committee voted tonight to recommend Queen Liliuokalani Elementary School in Kaimuki be closed, but Puuhale Elementary in Kalihi remain open.

The full board will make the final call on whether to close either school March 3.

Under a Department of Education plan, Liliuokalani's 98 students would be transferred to Liholiho and Waialae elementary schools.

Liliuokalani parents have come out in force against the closure, saying the school provides a nurturing, safe environment for their kids.

But BOE members said the school has been under threat of closing for years and has not been able to drive up its numbers.

"It is a small school no matter which we way we cut it," said BOE Chairman Garrett Toguchi. "Just given the scale of the numbers here, I cannot help but support the department's" recommedation to close the school.

Meanwhile, the DOE has also proposed closing Puuhale Elementary and sending its 234 students to Kalihi Kai Elementary, creating a campus with 833 students.

BOE members said the change in campus size for the students would be too drastic.

A proposal to close Kalihi Elementary was withdrawn last night because of new information about the area's population and school attendance needs

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