Faculty, parents and alumni unhappyBy Rod Ohira and Gregg K. Kakesako
with management by Bishop Estate
The growing discontent with the management of Kamehameha Schools by the Bishop Estate trustees has become the driving force behind a public protest and march planned for Thursday by frustrated faculty, parents and alumni.
Problems of micromanagement, the declining authority of its school's first president of Hawaiian ancestry, and low morale among teachers and students are driving the protests.
Roy Benham, a 1941 graduate and former president of Kamehameha Schools, said the march will begin 10 a.m. Thursday at the Royal Mausoleum where the benefactor of the school, Princess Pauahi Bishop, is buried.
The protesters will then march down Nuuanu Avenue to the King Kamehameha statue fronting the state Judiciary and the Supreme Court building on King Street.
"We plan to deliver our list of concerns to the chief justice," Benham said.
Critics want the Supreme Court, whose five justices appoint the five Bishop Estate trustees, to help resolve the situation.
Benham said the same list of concerns will be delivered to the Bishop Estate and the trustees.
The public rift between parties vying for administrative control of Kamehameha Schools have exposed the autonomous power of Bishop Estate trustees.
Lokelani Lindsey, a former Maui Schools District superintendent named a trustee in 1993, is implementing policy and running the day-to-day operations of Kamehameha Schools.
Lindsey is under fire from alumni, parents and faculty for her micromanaging that has usurped school President Michael Chun's position.
Arnold Morgado, president of the Kamehameha Schools' Association of Teachers and Parents, hopes the controversy can be resolved by addressing issues.
"The point is not to focus on personalities but to concentrate on the issues that created the problem," Morgado said. "Parents, teachers, administrators and trustees are all suffering as a result of this rift between parties on how the school should be run."
Nona Beamer, a former Kamehameha teacher, wants the Hawaii Supreme Court to impeach Lindsey. "If the Supreme Court has the power to hire trustees, they should be able to fire them, too," Beamer said. "I don't believe trustees should be in the classroom telling teachers how to teach in front of students."
Beamer is also upset that new Hawaiian words developed by the University of Hawaii-Hilo to address subjects such as computer science were rejected by the school.
Trustees selected by the Hawaii Supreme Court serve until age 70.
"They should be held accountable to somebody," said Kili Namau'u, a Kamehameha graduate and director of Punana Leo O Maui, a Hawaiian immersion elementary school not affiliated with Kamehameha Schools.
"If anything, the alumni association should be the check-and-balance organization to ensure that the trustees are carrying out (Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop's) wishes," she added.
"It has been brewing for three or four years," said Namau'u of the conflict. "Now you can hear pain and feel anger. I'm frustrated but happy it came out."
Lindsey responded with a written statement when asked whether her active involvement in the school is a defined role of a trustee. It notes:
"The administration of Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate rests solely with the board of trustees. The accountability for the administration of the trust cannot be delegated by the trustees to any third party....
"The level of fiduciary duties placed upon the board of trustees, collectively and individually, is the highest and most demanding that the law can impose upon any individual and includes, among other things, an unmitigated duty of loyalty, duty of care, and a duty to keep and render clear and accurate accounts."
A campus source says Lindsey has total control over hiring and firing, scrutinizes outgoing mail, is changing the curriculum and even decides when the school logo can be used.
Another source said Lindsey has the support of trustees Henry Peters, Richard Wong and Gerard Jervis.