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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, October 3, 2001

Neighbor Island briefs

Advertiser Staff and News Services

Charter school faces shutdown

HILO, Hawai'i — In the first action of its kind since public charter schools have operated in Hawai'i, the state is seeking to close a Big Island school because it allegedly failed to meet health, safety and other regulations.

Waters of Life Public Charter School was among the first six charter schools approved by the Board of Education in July 2000 after the Legislature passed a law the year before allowing 25 public charter schools in the state.

The school, with 90 students from kindergarten through grade 12, temporarily operates out of the Naniloa Resort Hotel in Hilo while a new campus is being developed on nine acres in the Hawaiian Acres subdivision.

The charter school law requires approved schools to adhere to the same health and safety standards, content and performance requirements, and anti-discrimination and collective bargaining laws that apply to traditional public schools.

A lawsuit filed by the state attorney general's office in 3rd Circuit Court last week alleges that the school's officials failed to follow the plan filed with their application for a charter, and that the school has exceeded its spending allocation for the 2000-01 school year by $171,020.

The suit also alleges that the school operates out of facilities that are not permitted by state land-use laws or Hawai'i County zoning ordinances for use as a school, and that the school fails to meet state and county health and safety provisions, with inadequate restrooms, drinking water and food services, along with fire safety and other violations.

The state seeks an order shutting down Waters of Life immediately.

Kouchi to run for Kaua'i mayor

LIHU'E, Kaua'i — As expected, Ron Kouchi, Kaua'i County Council chairman, formally announced yesterday that he is a candidate for mayor in the 2002 election.

Kouchi, a 20-year councilman, made the announcement while opening his temporary campaign headquarters. He wants to succeed Maryanne Kusaka, who is in her final term as mayor.

Choosing not to focus on a single issue, Kouchi said that as the island's chief executive, he would work to ensure continued county services to the elderly, youths and others.

Kouchi can be reached at his campaign headquarters at (808) 632-0910, or e-mail kouchimayor@hawawaiian.net