Bishop Estate reeling
of 95 cuts
A decision to eliminateBy Gordon Y.K. Pang
outreach programs put trustees
on the road to a bitter harvest
The seeds of today's discontent over the direction of Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate were sown two years ago when estate trustees decided to eliminate about $11 million in community outreach programs.
The savings went to help fund the long-awaited satellite Kamehameha campuses on the Big Island and Maui that opened last year, the start of its GoForward plan designed to lead the schools into the 21st century.
While the vote was unanimous, the aftermath showed the early signs of a split on the board, a rift that has grown much wider during the past two years.
In a memorandum dated Aug. 4, 1995, trustee Oswald Stender implored colleagues Richard Wong, Henry Peters, Lokelani Lindsey and Gerard Jervis to reconsider chopping the outreach programs.
"While these programs deviate from the school's core programs, they reach a broad spectrum of community needs, reaching a broader group of Hawaiians," Stender wrote.
"There's no question a lot of
Hawaiian kids aren't being served
as a result of the elimination
of those programs."
Slicing the outreach programs left 170 people unemployed. More importantly, say the programs' supporters, thousands of Hawaiians and part-Hawaiians lost an opportunity to be "touched by the legacy" of the will of KS/BE founder Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop.
Despite the vote, Stender now believes the estate could support both neighbor island expansion and the outreach programs and has been lobbying to reinstate them.
Today, the concerns of Stender and others over both the educational and financial standing of the estate are the subject of investigations by an independent fact-finder and state Attorney General Margery Bronster.
The trustees chose to shut down some programs, such as the preschools, only to reopen them with KS/BE the sole sponsor. Others, like the Kupulani teen-mother program, are being reorganized by Alu Like or others with some support -- but no actual dollars -- from Kamehameha.
The program shifts puzzle Charlie Toguchi, superintendent of public schools from 1986 to 1994, and now Gov. Ben Cayetano's chief of staff.
"I was shocked, disappointed," Toguchi said. "There's no question a lot of Hawaiian kids aren't being served as a result of the elimination of those programs."
He added: "I think Kamehameha should go beyond serving the best and brightest. They should serve as many Hawaiian youngsters as they can."
Further, the decision galvanized a large part of the community -- Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian -- that felt Pauahi Bishop's will called for educating as many Hawaiians as possible.
Kamehameha Schools now enrolls some 3,200 students, or about 6.7 percent of the 48,000 school-
aged children in Hawaii. About 84 percent of Hawaiians and native Hawaiians who are school-aged attend public schools.
The trustees, with the exception of Stender, insist they did not have the funds available to both maintain the outreach programs and start the satellite campuses.
"A thorough review and analysis was undertaken and it culminated in this finding: 'KS/BE had the greatest impact on Hawaiian students when those students were in Kamehameha programs, being taught Kamehameha Schools curriculum by Kamehameha Schools teachers in KS facilities,'" said KS/BE spokeswoman Elisa Yadao.
"It's unconscionable that they did that," said Lilikala Kame'elehihiwa, an assistant professor of Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaii. "They were well thought out, brilliant programs that were very successful."
Helping those at riskEdmund Lima II said Ka Papa Honua o Keawanui, Kamehameha's alternative education program on Molokai for at-risk students, inspired his son Eke to do better in school and keep out of trouble.
Eke Lima was on the Molokai High School honor roll even though he was not enrolled in the mainstream curriculum and is now contemplating whether to join the Air Force or study agriculture in college.
Lima is incensed at the trustees' 1995 decision that led to the program's demise.
"I think that was a big-time mistake. Why leave the other kids out?" Lima said.
He estimated seven out of several hundred Molokai schoolchildren are accepted to Kamehameha each year.
George Schnackenberg, a teacher-counselor for the Molokai program, said that during a 1995 meeting, trustee Lindsey "was very adamant in saying it is not our responsibility to help these children. It is the DOE's responsibility to meet these children's educational needs, and we are not in the business of helping the Hawaiian youth at risk."
The idea of stepping out of the Kapalama Heights campus and into the community began in the 1960s.
Fred Cachola, a 1953 Kamehameha Schools graduate, was a key administrator for the outreach programs for more than two decades and was division director of the Community Education Division of Kamehameha Schools when he was among those cast off in 1995.
"The first few years we spent trying to convince the rest of the world, internal and external, that Kamehameha was serious about getting into the Hawaiian communities, working with the public schools where the needs were the greatest," Cachola said.
Besides helping in preschool education, outreach programs grew to include continuing adult education including Hawaiian language classes, intermediate reading education, alternative education for troubled youths and prenatal education for teen mothers.
Former Bishop Estate trustee Myron "Pinky" Thompson said the high percentage of teen mothers who were Hawaiian led to the creation of the Kupulani program.
Thompson felt so strongly about the vanquished programs that he helped persuade his colleagues on Alu Like's board of directors to take some of them on. Next month, Alu Like will begin its programs with the help of 12 other groups, thanks in large part to a $3 million federal grant formerly received by Kamehameha.
Alu Like won't be receiving any funds from KS/BE.
When Kamehameha first began exploring the need for outreach programs, native Hawaiian children taking pre-kindergarten tests consistently scored lower than children of other ethnicities, Thompson said.
"This told us that if we were going to, in the long run, produce more Hawaiians who are 'good and industrious men and women,' using the words of Pauahi, then we better begin where they begin to learn because too many of our youngsters when they hit the kindergarten level at the public school system are not ready to learn."
Yadao, however, said the shift in focus was justified.
"The operational review ... found that many of the community education programs were limited in their effectiveness and in some instances, serving more non-Hawaiians than Hawaiians," she said.
KS/BE did not allow the Star-Bulletin to look at the operational review, saying the audit is proprietary information.
Yadao said that faculty and staff were part of the review process and were given the opportunity to make recommendations.
But Wally Lau, head of Kamehameha's Alternative Education Program, said conclusions reached by the review team were made in advance by the trustees.
Information he provided to the auditors was not properly reflected in the report, Lau said. "In my opinion, the data was being manipulated."
Others echoed Lau's sentiments.
KS/BE forges aheadDespite such charges, KS/BE is forging ahead with its educational strategic plan, whose official summary states: "The purpose of GoForward is to serve more Hawaiian children through a statewide system of preschools and to expand the K-12 program through a system of feeder schools."
Long criticized for not giving formal education to enough Hawaiian youths, KS/BE in fall 1996 opened campuses in Keaukaha on the Big Island and Pukalani on Maui.
Today there are 104 students each at Keaukaha and Pukalani, Yadao said. Plans call for 200 students on each campus, attending through grade eight, by the turn of the century.
Following eighth grade, students are expected to be absorbed by the Kapalama campus.
Yadao said the estate also hopes to establish satellites in West Oahu and West Hawaii by 2000.
Via the satellite campuses, KS/BE hopes to increase enrollments at its elementary schools from 822 to 1,248, and at its middle school from 710 to 908 by the year 2005.
It also wants a high school enrollment of 1,800 by then "that better reflects state demographics for the Hawaiian population."
The plan also calls for beefing up its preschool program to 1,840 4-
year-olds statewide by 2005. Today, 960 youngsters are enrolled in Kamehameha preschools, up from about 600 in 1995.
The other main difference between then and now, of course, is now "we run them all," Yadao said.
Lingle lauds authorsBy Mike Yuen
of Broken Trust
Maui Mayor Linda Lingle has privately lauded the five prominent community figures who authored "Broken Trust," the opinion piece that raised troubling questions about how Bishop Estate trustees are selected, paid and perform their fiduciary duties.
But Lingle, who intends to officially declare her candidacy for governor next year, declined to say whether she would continue Gov. Ben Cayetano's probe into the charitable trust, one of the nation's largest, if that issue confronted a Lingle administration.
"I don't want to criticize. I don't want to be second-guessing everything the governor does," said Lingle, a Republican.
She said she didn't want to be seen as "piling on. I think there are enough people right now investigating it, looking into the allegations. I hope they complete it."
Her primary concern, Lingle said, is whether the estate's five trustees violated their fiduciary responsibilities. She is less concerned about allegations of politics being intertwined in the trustee selection process, she said, because similar claims can be raised with many other panels, including the state Land Use Commission.
Lingle's remarks were made during a speech to the Honolulu Women's Network last week and in a subsequent interview with the Star-Bulletin.
Lingle also said: "I haven't met one person who doesn't feel that the allegations -- as serious as they were -- shouldn't be looked into. I just don't know what the governor's responsibility was for the years he's been in office. The allegations are not new."
Cayetano, a Democrat, ordered a state probe after reading "Broken Trust," published Aug. 9 in the Star-Bulletin.
Lingle said that shortly after "Broken Trust" appeared, she wrote individual letters to the authors, "commending them on their courage."
It was authored by Senior U.S. District Judge Samuel King, Monsignor Charles Kekumano, retired state appellate Judge Walter Heen, former Kamehameha School for Girls Principal Gladys Brandt and University of Hawaii law professor Randall Roth.
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