sparks a battle with
The sniping between trusteesBy Rick Daysog
erupts into a public relations fight
after the release of the report
The gloves are off.
The months-long, behind-the-scenes sniping between Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate trustees erupted into a full-scale public relations battle over the weekend after Trustee Lokelani Lindsey released findings of a confidential report criticizing schools President Michael Chun's management.
On Friday, Lindsey said that test scores have steadily fallen during Chun's tenure and accused Chun and his wife, Bina, of unauthorized use of school funds.
Lindsey argued that 30 students in Kamehameha Schools' 1997 graduating class could "barely read" at 12th-grade levels and that only 48 percent of the schools' graduating class meet the minimum standards for the Scholastic Aptitude Test at the University of Hawaii.
Trustees Oswald Stender and Gerard Jervis, meanwhile, called Lindsey's release of the report "a sad and misguided effort" to deflect blame and urged the state courts to release a report on the school's management by court-appointed fact-finder retired judge Patrick Yim.
The report had been sealed at the estate's request but Attorney General Margery Bronster Friday filed a motion to unseal the document. Jervis and Stender today said they will file court papers backing the motion to unseal the report.
In a follow-up fax, Stender called Lindsey's charges "an irresponsible attack" on Kamehameha Schools students, teachers and Chun, saying her comments and actions "raise serious questions about her judgment."Lindsey hit back, calling Stender "mastermind" of an organized campaign to undermine trustees and preserve an unacceptable status quo at Kamehameha Schools.
She added she thought Kamehameha's students and teachers were excellent, but leadership should take responsibility for declining test scores. Lindsey also accused Stender of pulling the strings behind the alumni-student-parent group Na Pua a Ke Ali'i Pauahi, which she said has tried to discredit her. Stender denied the charges.
For months, Chun has tried to avoid the fray. But on Saturday, he faxed a statement defending the quality of education at Kamehameha Schools.
Chun, who will have to defend his record during a trustees' meeting tomorrow, said during the past 10 years the schools have increased, not hindered, students' preparedness for college education.
"Contrary to what ... has been reported publicly, the quality of education that Kamehameha students receive is of the highest caliber," he said. "Our students excel not only in academics, but music, the arts and athletics as well."
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