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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Summer classes offer new start

By Colin M. Stewart
Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Officials at Waters of Life Public Charter School hope summer classes will help close a difficult chapter for the school.

The public charter school called an early end to its instructional year after last Friday's classes due to a lack of funds. The school's board said it plans to offer a six-week course of summer classes to keep its students in the loop, Principal Daniel Caluya said.

"We will begin summer school in May and use Title I funds for that," he said Sunday. "We'll be able to get our academic rhythm again."

Caluya said the Title I allocation amounts to $50,000 for the Mountain View-based charter school.

While it may not sound like enough to keep a school with 82 students running for six weeks, the principal said his two campuses have learned how to stretch every dollar.

"We've been operating on vapors all year," he said.

Caluya took the reins at Waters of Life in July after a tumultuous beginning for the school.

According to Charter School Review Panel member Nina K. Buchanan, Waters of Life has faced continuing budgetary problems since receiving its charter from the state in 2000.

"Throughout the years, they've had a really tough time with funding and facilities," she said earlier this month.

She added that the school overspent its budget early on, and had been trying to pay the state back ever since.

The state Charter School Review Panel attempted to revoke the school's charter in June, but a judge ruled that the panel did not have the authority to do so.

Caluya said the school's books are back on track. "The school has paid all their debts back to the state, and we're re-establishing our credibility in the community," he said.

Plans for the summer school classes are still in the works, Caluya said, but he estimates a total of six weeks with classes running from 8 a.m. until noon. Classes will focus on core subjects, to get students up to speed before they begin the next school year.

The school board had not yet decided on a start date for the summer school classes, but Caluya said he would "call every parent individually" once the decision had been made.

For those students and parents unable or unwilling to participate in the summer school sessions, they have the option to enroll in Department of Education-operated public schools for the remainder of the school year.