Categorized | Education

Charter schools get support from administration


Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona earlier this month traveled to the Big Island to meet with officials with the Charter School Review Panel to urge them to reconsider its position and allow Lapahoehoe Elementary School to become a public charter school.

Teachers, administrative staff and parents in February voted overwhelmingly in favor of converting to a public charter school but had been denied.

“Hawaii’s charter schools offer important education alternatives as they continue to encourage community and parental involvement in the education of our keiki,” Aiona said.

In addition, Gov. Linda Lingle and Aiona have proclaimed May 2-8 as Charter School Week to recognize and congratulate Hawaii charter school leaders, students, parents, teachers and supporters for their many accomplishments.


Hawaii’s first 25 charter schools were authorized during the 1994 legislative session. These student-centered schools are public schools that have their own local school boards. They operate under a charter, or contract, with the state. Waialae Elementary School became the first charter school in 1995 and Lanikai Elementary School followed in 1996.

Today, 31 of Hawaii’s 256 public schools are charter, serving more than 7,600 K-12 students and providing rewarding jobs to more than 1,000 public employees statewide. They also serve as an innovative environment where teachers can form new curricula that have lasting benefits for their students. Through careful planning, 17 of the charter schools are able to avoid taking any furlough days this year, nine are taking some furlough days and only five are taking all 17 furlough days.

For example, Ke Kula o Samuel M. Kamakau charter school in Kaneohe saved 12 instructional days by creatively using grant money, cutting classroom supply budgets and having teachers agree to temporarily forgo increases in pay. The school added the remaining five furlough days on to Christmas break and the end of the school year to minimize disruption to family schedules

At Kihei Charter School on Maui, flexibility leads to learning outside the classroom. Students receive traditional instruction at school, as well as home-based learning activities, with help from parents for the youngest kids, and online instruction for older ones, as well as internships and independent projects. On furlough days, half the staff reports to campus, alternating with the other half on the next furlough.

National Charter Schools Week is celebrated each May to recognize and congratulate charter leaders, students, parents, teachers and supporters for their many accomplishments. By providing quality education, charter schools contribute to the statewide effort to improve public education in Hawaii. Through innovative teaching methods and curricula, charter schools offer important alternatives to educating our keiki.

THEREFORE, I, LINDA LINGLE, Governor, and I, James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr., Lieutenant Governor of the State of Hawaii, do hereby proclaim May 2–8, 2010, as CHARTER SCHOOLS WEEK in Hawaii, and encourage our citizens to join Hawaii’s Charter School community in celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of charter schools to public education in our state.

DONE at the State Capitol, in the Executive Chambers, Honolulu, State of Hawaii, this third day of May 2010.

Linda Lingle
Governor, State of Hawaii

James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr.
Lieutenant Governor, State of Hawaii

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