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Troubled charter school to get payroll funds only through end of month

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Teachers and staff at the financially strapped Halau Lokahi public charter school will continue getting a paycheck through the end of the month as the state moves ahead with plans to shut the school down.

The state Public Charter School Commission, which voted last week to begin the process of revoking the school’s charter contract, said Wednesday afternoon that it would release enough funds to cover payroll through the end of January.

The commission had said previously that it would only release funding necessary for dissolving the school and transitioning students.

Seventy students showed up for school at Halau Lokahi on Tuesday, the first day back from winter break.

The funds will “allow families and staff two more weeks to make transitions to new schools and new employers. At that point —  and hopefully sooner — all students should have transferred to other schools,” the commission said in a news release.

“The school will continue to exist as a legal entity for purposes of the process, but even if the commission were to release all of the funds the school normally would have received for the remainder of the school year — instead of trying to pay down some of the school’s past debts — 

the school would run out of money,” the release said.

Monthly payroll for Halau Lokahi’s 10 faculty and staff is about $24,800, according to figures from school officials.

Halau Lokahi’s governing board plans to challenge the revocation decision and keep the school open.

“Procedurally we’re in uncharted waters, and when there’s no chart, our guiding star has be what’s best for students,” commission Executive Director Tom Hutton said, “in this case, moving on.”

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