Hawaii News BOE takes another look at how public schools are closed By Mary Vorsino Oct. 5, 2011 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. The state will put on hold a statewide review of schools for possible consolidation while the Board of Education studies the best way to determine whether a campus should be considered for closure. BOE members will look at what triggers a school consolidation review under current policy, and will also study how the Department of Education could align the consolidation effort with its overall strategy. They expect to have proposed changes to the policy by Jan. 1. The BOE also decided at its full board meeting Tuesday not to schedule a public hearing — yet — on a consolidation proposal for the McKinley complex, which would shutter Likelike Elementary School. BOE Chairman Don Horner said he understands the need for consolidation reviews but wants to ensure money saved through school closure goes back to students and to improve school programs. He also said the board needs to spell out the characteristics of a "model school," such as optimal enrollment and student-teacher ratio. "We want to try to get a strategy," he said. The DOE’s review of the McKinley complex is the latest step in a statewide effort to determine whether small schools can be consolidated to save money. So far, two schools have closed as part of that push. But eight schools have been spared after consolidation reviews. The board’s policy says a school should be considered for closure if one-third or more of the square footage on the campus needs improvements, one-third or more of classrooms are not used for teaching or the school is not offering the range of opportunities at other schools. BOE member Jim Williams noted that the current policy does not mention student achievement, and questioned whether the department was following the policy in the case of Likelike. He said all but two classrooms at the school are being used and that it has had a host of improvements in recent years to bring it up to standard. He also said it would be a "waste of time" to pursue a consolidation review of Likelike Elementary. "The energy that the school would spend to fight closure would be much better spent" at the school, he said. Previous Story Hughes Corp. revives plan for Kakaako Next Story In Arizona bull run, danger, yes. liability, no.