(BIVN) – Talks between the Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission and officials with the Kaʻū Learning Academy are not going so well, as evidenced by video footage recorded during a public meeting.
Kaʻū Learning Academy was issued a Notice of Prospect of Revocation on November 28, 2017 after the Commission reviewed an independent auditor’s report. The Commission says the report cited Kaʻū Learning Academy for several material weaknesses and incidents of non-compliance.
Kaʻū Learning Academy posted part of their defense on their website:
The Commission is basing their actions on the recent financial audit of Ka’u Learning Academy. The audit was for our second year of operations, the 2016-2017 school year. It showed that we ended the year with a surplus of monies that the state and federal government provided for our students. The commission is saying that we made, in their words, “serious” errors. Other CPA’s have reviewed the audit in addition to the firm that conducted the audit. None of them find any errors or practices that rise to a level they consider “serious”. In fact, they call them minor accounting errors of the type that any company or agency would be expected to have. Another charter school leader praised our audit as outstanding for a school in only its second year.
A January 29th gathering in Discovery Harbour concerning the future of the Kaʻū charter school devolved into a shouting match before it was called off. The moment was recorded by participants and posted to YouTube.
We later spoke to Kathryn Tydlacka, founding executive director of Kaʻū Learning Academy, over the phone about the tensions between her school and the State Public Charter School Commission.
We reached out to the Public Charter School Commission and got a written response from Executive Director Sione Thompson.
Thompson stated that “the Commission is tasked with monitoring and ensuring that charter schools in Hawaiʻi comply with the charter contract which includes academic, financial, and organizational performance frameworks. The Commission will hold schools accountable for their performance pursuant to the law and their charter contract.”
The Commission says they are continuing to move forward with the process and a hearing on the matter will be scheduled in the near future.