Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Wednesday, July 17, 2024 75° Today's Paper


Top News

School board reverses commission decision to close Kamalani Academy

KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER
                                Lola Porec, 12, left, Kalela Martinez, 12, and Azalea Gellert, 12, hold up signs at the Richardson School of Law today.
1/2
Swipe or click to see more

KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

Lola Porec, 12, left, Kalela Martinez, 12, and Azalea Gellert, 12, hold up signs at the Richardson School of Law today.

CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Kamalani faculty, students and their parents rally outside of the Department of Education on March 2.
2/2
Swipe or click to see more

CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

Kamalani faculty, students and their parents rally outside of the Department of Education on March 2.

KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER
                                Lola Porec, 12, left, Kalela Martinez, 12, and Azalea Gellert, 12, hold up signs at the Richardson School of Law today.
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Kamalani faculty, students and their parents rally outside of the Department of Education on March 2.

In an unprecedented court-style hearing, the state Board of Education today reversed a decision by the state Public Charter School Commission to close the Wahiawa charter school Kamalani Academy.

The administrative hearing, held in a moot-court classroom at the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson Law School, centered on Kamalani’s appeal of a February decision by the commission to deny the school a five-year contract renewal.

The commission had cited “multiple material and substantive violations of the charter contract” by the school, including offering an online-learning program without approval, and had said Kamalani would have to close after the school year ends and its contract expires June 30. The campus at 1403 California Ave. has operated since the 2017-2018 school year and serves about 150 students in kindergarten through grade 8. It bills itself as the only charter school in Central Oahu.

Five members of the BOE listened to approximately an hour and a half of oral arguments by separate state deputy attorneys general representing the school and the commission, then went into a private room to deliberate.

When the panel emerged, BOE Chair Bruce Voss announced that they concluded that the commission made several errors in its dealings with Kamalani, including basing its decision on problems that had not been raised in a prior performance evaluation, and failing to properly and clearly describe the violations.

The school and commission are directed to execute a renewed contract, but if it takes longer than the June 30 expiration, it would be assumed to be renewed in the interim for one year, Voss said.

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines. Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.