Kamaile seeks charter conversion
School officials hope the change will help deal with rising enrollment
Waianae's Kamaile Elementary School wants to become a charter school, hoping the change will help it deal with an enrollment spurt and meet strict demands set by the No Child Left Behind law.
Administrators at Kamaile Elementary, as well as its faculty, staff and parents, have voted for the status change, and the Hookakoo Corp. filed a conversion application on behalf of the school yesterday with the state Board of Education.
The school has 630 students, with as many as 70 percent being of native Hawaiian ancestry and almost 90 percent who come from economically disadvantaged families.
"Our school community has been searching for a way to meet the challenges facing our school, including increased enrollment due to migration of homeless and houseless families to the Waianae Coast," Kamaile Principal Glen Kila said yesterday in a news release.
Kila said the new status would allow the school to reduce the size of classrooms to 20 students each and design a better curriculum. Additional funding from Hookakoo could be used to hire more teachers and individualize instruction for students at the school, Kila said.
A state law passed last year caps the number of conversion charter schools to 25, said school board member Donna Ikeda. She said Kamaile's application would need to be reviewed by a charter school review panel, which would then decide whether to bring it before the board for approval.
"As long as their implementation plan is approved by the panel, it should be fine," Ikeda said.
According to Kamaile Elementary, community members conducted a lengthy audit of the school's systems and organizational structure, and a detailed implementation plan was submitted with the school's application.
The school said that under a state law enacted in 2002, it could receive up to $1,500 per student to facilitate the conversion. It said additional funding would come from Kamehameha Schools.
If allowed to convert, Kamaile would join Waimea Middle School on the Big Island and Kualapuu School on Molokai as Hookakoo conversion charters. Kamaile is hoping to receive board approval and start teaching as a conversion school in the next school year.