Categorized | Education

Waimea Middle School receives $266,500 grant


Waimea Middle School has received a $266,500 school improvement grant from Tom and Gail Gimbel’s Neilen Foundation to help the public conversion charter school become financially sustainable to better support academic improvement for all students.

The Gimbels, who are becoming Hawaii Island homeowners after having visited frequently for decades from California, made what is the first sustainability grant received by the school – via its not-for-profit Hookakoo Local School Board — to address expensive ongoing operating costs such as electricity and busing.

The school currently spends about $50,000 annually on electricity and $140,000 on student busing.

The goal of the grant is to convert the school from high cost fossil fuel dependency to a “green” photo voltaic system, and also “seed” purchase of a bus.

“These substantial investments will reduce what the school must spend annually and allow us to re-invest those funds into the classroom to support students and teachers,” said WMS Principal Matt Horne. “The funds were donated to Hookakoo, which immediately put them to work for the school.”

“Electricity and busing costs challenge every single school in the state and country, and the solutions are unbelievably complex and expensive for financially strapped public conversion charter schools. Having funding support like this is extraordinary,” said Horne. “We are very appreciative of the Gimbel’s aloha for our students.”

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