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Puna charter school displaced by lava seeks alternate site


    Lava is now approaching the campus of Kua O Ka La Public Charter School near the Ahalanui warm ponds, which remains closed due to cut-off access. Pictured is the school during a nighttime evacuation in May.

With the start of classes just five weeks away, Susie Osborne, co-founder and head of Kua O Ka La Public Charter School in Puna, is desperately seeking a campus to temporarily house her elementary school students in the Hilo area.

Osborne had to scramble to find alternative locations for her students to finish up the last 10 days of the school year in May. Classes were temporarily held at at the New Hope church in Waiakea for elementary students and the Boys and Girls Club of the Big Island for middle and high school students.

Osborne is planning to keep the older students at the Boys and Girls Club, but is searching for a location for approximately 100 younger kids. She said several options could work if portable structures were brought in to hold classes.

“I’m frantically looking,” Osborne said today by phone from Hawaii island. “Our big hope is taking care of the children and the families. It’s a very important part of stabilizing our community at this point.”

In May, Osborne lost both her home and access to the school campus due to the Kilauea eruptions, but said she is committed to keeping the school open by holding classes in Hilo this fall.

The lava flow continues and is currently about a quarter- to a half-mile away from the school’s campus at 14-5322 Kalapana Kapoho Beach Road.

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