HILO, Hawaii: A group of parents, students and teachers at Laupahoehoe High and Elementary School took their grievances to Bayfront Highway in Hilo on Wednesday.
A quick look at the signs they were waving reveals which side of the recent charter school conversion debate they are on.
Emotions are running high and moral at the school is reportedly running low, after yet another decision by the Board of Education overruling the Charter School Review Panel.
This time, the BOE declared that Laupahoehoe will open as a charter school in July 2012. The sudden decision was made after the charter school’s Interim Local School Board appealed to the BOE, after the review panel ruled that the school must operate for another year under the Department of Education before converting to a charter. Three C.S.R.P. board members resigned over the decision.
These demonstrators are not happy with the Board of Educations’ actions.
The community is also torn over the charter school’s refusal to hold an election to install a permanent Local School Board. It was presumed by many that the permanent Local School Board elections would be held before the charter school year began. But the interim school board has resisted holding the elections, saying that the stakeholders have not been identified. The Board of Education apparently agrees.
Meanwhile, the Interim Board is pushing forward, encouraging current teachers to submit letters of interest and resumes by February 15, 2012.
The Interim Local School Board issued this release today:
Local parents and their families are excited about the opening of Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School in July 2012. Parent and Laupahoehoe High & Elementary School graduate Kaihi Francisco recently stated: “My family and I thank those who worked hard and diligently for our charter school, and thank the Board of Education for their approval to open in July. We are happy and excited!”
The Laupahoehoe Charter School Interim Local School Board (ILSB) supports citizens in their exercise of their first amendment rights of free speech, freedom to assemble and to petition their government and respects the right of individuals to express their objection to the Laupahoehoe Charter School opening in July 2012. It is with aloha that the ILSB welcomes dialog about any concerns that exist within the community and the school.
Francisco and his family stated: “We feel saddened that our enthusiasm is not shared by all in the community. We hope that those who continue to hinder the progress of better opportunities for our youth will see the vision and give their support to our Charter.”
Parent Phoebe Mills went further, saying: “I’ve heard that a few teachers at the school are encouraging the kids in their classes to oppose the charter-conversion. I’m sure that most teachers would never do this, but if it’s true, it’s appalling. The students should not be dragged into this on school time. “
The ILSB welcomes anyone with questions about the school opening or process to go to the website (www.laupahoehoecharterschool.com) or call 808-430-8699. Questions and concerns about the charter school may be presented at the public ILSB meetings on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:00pm (the website will list the most up to date information).
Interest in the charter school is widespread. Numerous inquiries have come in from prospective parents and teachers who are enthusiastic about becoming part of an innovative community school. To kick off the Charter’s hands-on learning approach, an exciting outdoors experience for high school students is planned for this summer.
An upcoming presentation by Board of Education Chair Don Horner & Vice Chair Brian DeLima will be held in February in the Laupahoehoe area to help the community to move forward.
The school encourages this year’s teachers to consider teaching at the charter school when it opens in July, 2012 and to submit letters of interest and resumes by February 15 2012. Inquiries regarding student registration or employment for qualified State teachers and staff should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.