Waters of Life Public Charter School on the Big Island can remain open—for now.
The Charter School Review Panel voted unanimously Thursday to extend the probation for Waters of Life through Dec. 16, at which point the matter will be taken up again.
In doing so, the panel rejected two other options: lifting the probation or revoking the school’s charter.
Panel members commended the school for the progress it has made over the last year, but said they continue to have serious concerns about the financial stability of the campus.
As part of the probation, the school will face strict financial monitoring and oversight.
Waters of Life, which opened in 2000, has been on financially unstable footing for years and in April ended the year early because it ran out of money.
But things have improved since then, and the school is now in the black.
"The school has made a remarkable turnaround and has begun to restore order to its fiscal operation," Ruth Tschumy, panel chairwoman, said in a news release. "Because of this, the panel felt the school and its children and families deserved a one-semester extension of its probation. During this period, the school must absolutely demonstrate sound fiscal practices and financial stability."
Principal Daniel Caluya said he is delighted the school, with 100 students in grades K-6, has been granted an extension to prove it can continue to improve.
"We have a road map and we’re going to follow the road map," he said. "We’re going to take care of our fiduciary responsibilities."
Ginger Krauss, a teacher at Waters of Life for seven years, said the school serves a vital mission in the community, especially for kids who need more one-on-one attention.
"We teach … certainly not for the public gratitude, but because we make a difference," she said. "These kids really need our school."