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Charter reform signed into law, new commission appointed


Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed legislation Tuesday to reform the governance of Hawaii’s charter schools and the Board of Education quickly appointed members to the new Public School Charter Commission that will oversee the system.

"Senate Bill 2115 is a real game changer in the way we govern our charter school system, with a clear balance between accountability and autonomy that will result in increased student achievement," said Sen. Jill Tokuda, chair of the Education Committee, who championed the legislation.

The law will put charter schools on performance contracts to better track academics and finances at the 32 campuses, which educate close to 10,000 students. It also strengthens monitoring of charters with the creation of the commission to oversee the system and report annually on charter performance.

Less than an hour after the bill was signed, the Board of Education voted to appoint nine members to the new commission, which replaces the Charter School Review Panel. The new commissioners are: 

>> John Colson, former principal at Waimea Middle School

>> Henry Halenani Gomes, an associate provost at Chaminade University

>> Peter Hanohano, capacity building manager for Hi’ilei Aloha LLC, a nonprofit subsidiary of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs

>> Richard Hogeboom, an instructor in Chaminade University’s Masters in Educational Leadership for Charter Schools

>> Usha Kotner, director of Kona Pacific Charter School

>> Catherine Payne, retired educator and former principal of Farrington High School

>> Karen Street, vice president of organizational development for First Insurance Co. of Hawaii

>> Roger Takabayashi, retired president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association 

>> Peter Tomozawa, a director of FX Alliance Inc., an electronic foreign exchange trading company


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