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Churches seek to dismiss state school fees suit

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:45 a.m. HST, Oct 11, 2013

Attorneys representing two churches being sued over renting Hawaii public school buildings for services say the churches aren't doing anything wrong and the state knows how the facilities are being used.

A lawsuit filed in March by Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of Church and State founder Mitchell Kahle and public advocate Holly Huber claims the churches owe more than $5.6 million in unpaid or underpaid fees.

Religious liberty group Alliance Defending Freedom filed a motion to dismiss Wednesday, arguing the lawsuit relies on public documents that don't show any wrongdoing.

Attorney Erik Stanley says records show the state knew what was going on, so the lawsuit isn't exposing alleged fraud.

Spokeswomen for the state Department of Education and attorney general's office declined to comment.

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ponowai wrote:
Leave the churches alone, they are a big help for the schools and communities. Mitch Kahle is just looking for a big payday and another award for being an a55
on October 10,2013 | 02:01PM
allie wrote:
true..but BOE needs to clarify procedures and charge the accurate amounts.
on October 10,2013 | 05:39PM
medigogo wrote:
In essence, Kahle is suing to force the state to nickel and dime the churches for occasionally using the facilities off time. State refused to do so. Mr. private attorney general, better go with some other things more meaningful.
on October 10,2013 | 02:48PM
TheFarm wrote:
These for profit churches have an overly cozy and concerningly relaxed relationship with our public schools. Anyone else renting school property pays hour by hour, yet the churches, who use these public facilities instead of buying their own building, get a free pass over and over. Not every now and then. ALL THE TIME. They store their church stuff for free, they leave their banners up in school auditoriums, itʻs not pono. At all. They need to pay, our buy their own building and leave our public buildings out of their scheme.
on October 10,2013 | 04:29PM
st1d wrote:
churches should render unto ceasar what is ceasar's. it was true when it was first said and it still is true today.

churches that contract for renting school property at set hourly rates should honor the rates for the hours the school property is being used.

anthing less is being dishonest. even if churches donate funds and upgrades to particular schools, they should still pay their fair share of the hourly rent.

it's the state that loses out when the proper rent is withheld, utilities, wear and tear, and state staffing still needs to be paid. taxpayers should not be expected to pick up the tab for operating a church on school property.

do the right thing, render unto ceasar what is ceasar's.

on October 10,2013 | 09:00PM
lowtone123 wrote:
I know that the schools are required to have a staff member (usually a custodian) on the premises while their facilities are being used by the church. So it would seem the school knows how long the church is there. If the church is there longer than they are supposed to be isn't it the responsibility of the school?
on October 11,2013 | 07:42AM
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