Kamehameha SchoolsKamehameha Schools is giving up almost $3 million in federal funding used to provide scholarships and other programs to its native Hawaiian beneficiaries.
The estate will give other groups
expertise on receiving grants
By Treena Shapiro
The estate said it plans to help community organizations and agencies that serve Hawaiians compete to take over the federally funded programs.
While estate officials say supporting these agencies is the primary motivation for giving up the federal grants, possible challenges to the school's Hawaiians-only admission policy also factored into the decision.
Kamehameha Schools spokesman Kekoa Paulsen said one of the U.S. Department of Education programs has complained about the race-based admissions policy, but Kamehameha was not given details of the complaint.
However, Hamilton McCubbin, Kamehameha Schools chief executive officer, said the decision to reject the federal funds was not defensive.
"When you receive federal grants, it's supposed to be to agencies that don't have preference programs, preference admissions," McCubbin said. "But we've been running federal grants for almost 30 years, so that hasn't been the challenge."
Paulsen said lending the estate's expertise to the organizations that will take over the programs supports the expanded community involvement called for in Kamehameha Schools' master plan adopted in September 1999.
"The thought that we've had for a while was that we need to do what we can to strengthen partnerships in the community or help them get established so that a broader base of support is built up, all of them hopefully aimed at developing the well-being of native Hawaiians," he said.
Since several of these grants target native Hawaiians, McCubbin said they will not be lost once Kamehameha exits the programs. Four grants support scholarships, student counseling, substance abuse and violence prevention. Other federal funds go to programs that subsidize meals for qualified students, library equipment and materials, and student leadership.
Paulsen said that while Kamehameha cannot designate which agencies will assume the grants, the school will lend its expertise to help them compete for the grants.
"That will benefit the larger community and the Hawaiian community in particular," he said. "Kamehameha can't do this all by itself. It doesn't make for a strong community of agencies."
Kamehameha Schools executives said the estate expects to improve the delivery of educational services to native Hawaiians by sharing its knowledge in delivering proven programs, and looking for innovative ways to reach out to a wider population.
The school has already informed the U.S. Department of Education of its plans and is working with federal agencies and Hawaii's congressional delegation to facilitate the transition.
Kamehameha Schools scholarship and financial aid recipients will not be affected by the transition.
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