Nanakuli could section off students
What ever happened to a plan to split Nanakuli High and Intermediate School into two campuses?
Answer: The school has abandoned a proposal to relocate seventh- and eighth-graders to another site, but it remains interested in enclosing them within a portion of the campus by building a fence or a hedge around one building, education officials say.
Parents and the state Department of Education have been debating for years whether to divide the school to prevent young students from sharing the campus with older teenagers.
The latest suggestion calls for confining some 350 intermediate students to a round building that would be off-limits to about 790 high-schoolers, said Board of Education member Donna Ikeda.
The school would need about $300,000 to erect a fence or plant a hedge, renovate a building's cafeteria, add a science lab and possibly hire more staff, Ikeda said.
"If they are going to separate the grades, and it seemed like that was the case, then this is what the needs would be," she said, noting the school has not yet asked for money. "Whatever happens isn't going to happen for a while."
It remains unclear whether one principal would be in charge of all students.
Reactions to the proposal are mixed, but the community appears to be OK with separating the students, said school board member Lei Ahu Isa. If plans move forward, Isa said, she hopes the school will use vegetation -- not a chain-link fence or a wall -- to split the campus.
"I think it's good if we don't have walls like a prison," she said.
Nanakuli is just one of six high schools statewide that still share cafeteria, athletic facilities and library with intermediate students, according to the Department of Education.
The last public school to be split was the former Molokai High and Intermediate School. Starting in the 2004-05 school year, an "imaginary line" established between that school's cafeteria and library limited access to the upper campus to seventh- and eighth-graders.
This update was written by Alexandre Da Silva.
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