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Thursday, August 26, 1999




Stender proposes
voucher system

By Rick Daysog
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

The Kamehameha Schools can expand its educational mission by setting up a voucher system for native Hawaiian students and by privatizing public schools in areas heavily populated by native Hawaiians, according to former Bishop Estate trustee Oswald Stender.

Speaking at the Tax Foundation of Hawaii's annual meeting yesterday, Stender urged the Bishop Estate's new board of trustees to expand the reach of the trust by partnering with the Department of Education and other organizations.

"The opportunity for change at the Kamehameha Schools is now," Stender said.

Kamehameha Schools currently educates about 4,000 island children a year. But there are about 40,000 native Hawaiian children within the Department of Education.

While the estate is in the process of opening satellite programs on the neighbor islands, Stender believes it can expand its reach to a greater extent and far cheaper by privatizing public schools in predominantly Hawaiian districts.

Stender cited Pope Elementary School in Waimanalo as a potential candidate. Of the school's 360 students, 337 are of Hawaiian descent.

Instead of building a new school in that district at a cost of $28 million, the Kamehameha Schools could operate the school at a cost of about $1 million a year, Stender said.

Statewide, the Kamehameha Schools could privatize about 25 schools and reach an additional 6,500 Hawaiian children at an annual cost of $32 million, Stender said. That compares with the $750 million cost of building 25 new satellite schools.

The estate also could set up a voucher system for students to attend other local private schools, he said.

Each year, thousands of students are not accepted at the Kamehameha Schools due to space considerations.

Under a voucher system, the estate would cover a portion of a student's tuition so that they could attend private schools like Iolani and Punahou.



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