Thursday, June 4, 1998

short approval no
surprise to critics

But, the school's
faculty had to learn of it
through TV news

By Debra Barayuga


Critics of Bishop Estate trustees' management of Kamehameha Schools aren't surprised at unofficial reports that the school received a three-year term of accreditation.

A school could be accredited for up to six years.

"I don't think anybody expected it to be any different," said attorney Beadie Kanahele Dawson of Na Pua a Ke Ali'i o Pauahi, an organization of Kamehameha parents, students and alumni.

Don Haught, executive director of the accrediting commission for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, today declined to confirm reports of the term or that Kamehameha has been notified.

However, when a school receives a three-year term, it means the committee feels there are issues of such an urgent nature that they ought to be addressed in less than six years, he said.

Bishop Estate spokesman Kekoa Paulsen said school administrators, as they have done in the past, will not discuss the commission's final report until it has been issued and reviewed by them.

A report compiled by a team of educators who visited the campus in March praised Kamehameha's faculty, curriculum and teachers. But it raised serious questions about the governance of the school and recommended that an outside body assist in redesigning the governance structure.

Based on its visit, the accreditation team made a recommendation to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The commission was to have reviewed the team's findings at its April meeting and notify the school within a month.

Yesterday, the president of the newly formed Kamehameha Schools Faculty Association said members have received no official word from the administration about the school's accreditation, which was reported by KITV.

"I'm sympathetic to the administration's concern about the accreditation, and I understand they're entitled to appeal if they so choose," said association President Larry McElhenny.

"On the other hand, I would have to agree with what was said in the report, particularly about how the school is being run and the fact that faculty have been excluded from fundamental and important decisions."

The visiting team's analysis of morale among faculty, and discontentment with the way the school has been managed, reinforces the need and validity of the teachers union, McElhenny said.

Terrance Tom enters
crowded Senate race

House Judiciary Chairman Terrance Tom will be entering what is becoming a crowded Democratic primary for the state Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Mike McCartney.

Campaign '98 Tom (D, Kaneohe) said he will be filing for the seat by the end of the week.

A pair of democrats, former state Rep. Bob Nakata and former Board of Education Chairwoman Debi Hartmann, already have filed to run.

The 23rd Senate District includes Kaneohe, Kahuku and Heeia.

Another democrat, former Rep. Reb Bellinger, has taken out papers for the seat but has not filed.

Bellinger also has taken out papers for the seat now held by Rep. Collen Meyer (R, Kahaluu).

Meyer, in the meantime, is considering a run for the Senate on the Republican ticket.

Tom is facing a possibly tough primary election battle for his House seat against Iris Catalani. He beat Catalani two years ago by only 54 votes.

Tom said that was not a factor in his decision.

Tom is also an attorney on monthly retainer from Bishop Estate.

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