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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Nonprofit aims to establish charter school in East Maui

Advertiser Staff

A fledgling Maui nonprofit group has set a goal to establish a charter school in Ke'anae, the Maui News reported.

The group includes parents and grandparents of Ke'anae and Waialua schoolchildren who endure a one-hour bus ride on weekdays along narrow and winding Hāna Highway to reach Hāna High and Elementary School.

Ke'anae School stopped holding classes in 2005, but it wasn't until this year that the state Board of Education deemed the campus officially closed and voted to accept a recommendation to consolidate Ke'anae School with the Hāna School campus.

State Department of Education officials estimate the decision saves at least $32,000 a year, plus close to a million dollars in improvements needed to reopen Keanae School.

Meanwhile, "Ka Waianu o Haloa" registered as a nonprofit with the mission to open a charter school for children living in East Maui.

Founder and group president Sommer "Kehau" Kimokeo, the mother of three young children, said her group had begun to draft a detailed implementation plan on its vision for a charter school.

It will take at least a year and a couple of months, Kimokeo said, but eventually the group hopes to use the Keanae School campus as the grounds for its new charter school.

Kimokeo said the ultimate goal would be to build a K-12 campus, but realistically Ka Waianu o Haloa would probably start with a K-3 or K-5 program.