Final plan for 'Ewa, Keone'ula areas set
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser West O'ahu Writer
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
A final plan for new boundaries of those attending Keone'ula Elementary School has been drawn up that would allow siblings of current students living outside the new attendance area to be enrolled at the popular school as long as an older sibling is enrolled there at the same time.
In exchange, students from future 'Ewa subdivisions originally designated for Keone'ula are now part of an "attendance area yet to be determined" category.
What is being proclaimed a "final decision" will be presented to the community from 7 to 8 p.m. tomorrow at the Keone'ula Elementary School cafeteria.
Parents of students living in the burgeoning 'Ewa by Gentry and Ocean Pointe communities have been alternately happy and unhappy with different versions of the plan to relieve overcrowding at Keone'ula by funneling a portion of them to the older 'Ewa Beach Elementary about a mile away.
Many of them argued that sales representatives had assured them their children would be attending a brand-new elementary school in 'Ewa. Keone'ula opened in 2006.
The plan to be presented tomorrow will leave the northern district line of Keone'ula to Geiger Road while blacking out several newer subdivisions and placing them into an "attendance area to be determined" category.
Mamo Carreira, Department of Education district superintendent for the area, said the latest plan should address the concerns of parents who said it was a burden for them to drive to two different public elementary schools.
The new map is also designed to appease Gentry residents living north of Keaunui Drive who, after the last iteration, complained that their students would need to be bused past Keone'ula on their way to 'Ewa Beach Elementary.
Where the students in the "to-be-determined" category will attend in the future will depend on how full Keone'ula gets over the next few years.
"We're waiting to see how the sibling situation plays out," Carreira said. "And it could be that by the time they develop, we would have a better idea of both schools so we didn't want to keep them out of either."
Among those in the yet-to-be-determined category are residents of Ewa by Gentry's new Latitudes subdivision where houses are being built. Students living there have until Friday to register at Keone'ula or will be expected to go to 'Ewa Beach Elementary. The same goes for incoming students now in the Keone'ula attendance area but who will be outside in the new configuration.
The DOE is intending to install three portable classrooms at Keone'ula by the fall to accommodate an unexpected increase in student population.
Meanwhile, improvements are expected to be made to 'Ewa Beach Elementary, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year and is far below its student capacity. Those improvements would include landscaping, painting and cooling measures such ceiling fans. Air conditioning has been ruled out as cost-prohibitive.
Academically, the two schools are comparable. 'Ewa Beach Elementary does slightly better on math tests while Keone'ula fares slightly better on verbal tests.
Rep. Rida Cabanilla, D-42nd (Waipahu, Honouliuli, 'Ewa), said she is not satisfied with Carreira's final plan.
Rather than put up new portables at Keone'ula, she said, it would have made more sense to add them to 'Ewa Elementary to the north and allow more of the northern Gentry communities to go there rather than bus them to 'Ewa Beach Elementary much farther to the south.
Reach Gordon Y.K. Pang at firstname.lastname@example.org.