Hawaii charter school fights to keep doors openUPDATED 7:27 PM HST Aug 03, 2014Video Transcript
he later died. While some students try not to think of school during their summer break, students, parents and teachers of Halau Lokahi spent their summer fighting to keep their school alive. KITV 4's Paul Drewes details the changes that are taking place with the Kalihi charter school. 25 2:05 any nats here Halau Lokahi is known for immersing its students in hands-on learning. In the classroom and especially in the community, like the launching of this hand-made canoe with the school's navigational program back in 2009. But the charter school ran into rough waters this year, falling behind financially by more than 400,000 dollars. 14:45 "on paper it looked like a large number, but in actuality, our landlord has been very patient in when we're able to pay and our vendors have been very patient" The Charter School Commission was not as patient. it threatened to pull the plug on state funding unless Halau lokahi got rid of the current governing board -- including the school director and also came up with a new financial plan. Their proposal was approved this week, with the commission chair stating - "The school has a plan for paying off its debts instead of leaving these significant liabilities to the public, it can make a fresh start with new leadership," Old leaders are not the only things going. The school is downsizing, eliminating extra classroom space to cut costs. Some staff hours will also be reduced or even eliminated altogether. But even with the cuts many who work here still believe in the school. tiane@9:18-9:23 "its about the bigger picture, the school's survival. That was most important to the staff" There will also be some additions to the school this fall. New academies, including ones focused on commercial and sustainable products -- just like their current ocean learning and cultural academies. Last year the school had 183 students in grades K-12. But the school can hold at least 200. Lower enrollment is one of the reasons the school ran into financial difficulty. graphic goes here Unlike public schools that receive nearly $12,000 per student for education, administration and campus costs, charter schools like Halau Lokahi only get about $6,200 per pupil. paul standup@27:46- 27:55 "Administrators tell me that after the financial difficulties surfaced, their enrollment dropped by about 40 students but already they've had parents come in to sign up their kids for fall classes." 10:35 "many families are interested. we're still conducting interviews on a daily basis and answers phone calls and accepting new students. We're excited about accepting new students to our family." In Kalihi, Paul Drewes KITV 4 news. It has been a busy summer for Halau Lokahi administration. The school will have a hectic year ahead, as the state monitors the charter school's finances on a monthly basis. But teachers told us -- now the real work begins! As they gear up for the 1st day of school on Aug.14th.