Kamalani Academy
Kamalani Academy

Hawaii state board reverses commission's decision, says charter school can continue operating

April 28, 2023
The state's Public Charter School Commission had declined earlier this year to renew the charter for the Kamalani Academy.

The Hawaii Board of Education has reversed a decision by the state Public Charter School Commission and will allow the Kamalani Academy charter school to continue operating.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that the board's decision sets aside a February decision by the commission that denied a five-year contract renewal for the school, which is in the Wahiawa community on the island of Oahu.

The commission had cited “multiple material and substantive violations of the charter contract” by the school, including offering an online-learning program without approval. It had said Kamalani would have to close after the school year ends and its contract expires June 30.

The campus has operated since the 2017-18 school year and serves about 150 K-8 students. It bills itself as the only charter school in Central Oahu.

Five members of the state board listened an hour and a half of oral arguments, then adjourned to a private room to deliberate.

Board Chair Bruce Voss said board members 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 have been directed to reach agreement on 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.

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