Friday, July 24, 1998

Jervis slams
critical school study

The Bishop trustee says
the Kamehameha report misses
the mark and is unfair
to Michael Chun

By Rick Daysog


Bishop Estate trustee Gerard Jervis is raising questions about a mainland consulting firm's report on the management of estate-run Kamehameha Schools, saying the court-sanctioned study could end up as a $500,000 defense exhibit of certain trustees.

In a speech before the Pearl Harbor Hawaiian Civic Club last night, Jervis said the estate's majority trustees -- Richard Wong, Henry Peters and Lokelani Lindsey -- appeared to have hand picked Peterson Consulting L.L.C. to review the operations of Kamehameha Schools.

According to Jervis, the firm lacked experience in evaluating educational institutions, and its study didn't adequately address a key issue surrounding the Bishop Estate controversy -- allegations of the trustees' role in the mismanagement at Kamehameha Schools.

He noted that the Peterson report ignored charges that Lindsey and the so-called lead trustee system that put her in charge of the Kapalama Heights campus "dominated and subverted the administration and management of the schools."

Jervis said the report also appears to unfairly blame Kamehameha Schools President Michael Chun for problems at the campus. "Despite its attempts to be balanced, it was easy to see from the oral report how certain sections could be used to justify the condemnation of President Chun and the vindication of Mrs. Lindsey," he said. "Michael Chun gets none of the credit and all the blame."

Michael Green, Lindsey's attorney, said it's unfair to say that the report is rigged. He thinks Jervis is attempting to discredit the Peterson study because it calls attention to problems in the school's academic performance and will vindicate Lindsey, who has been heavily criticized for her efforts on the Kapalama Heights campus.

"I think the report is going to show that the students are not achieving what they should be achieving and I don't necessarily fault the teachers or the administrators for that," Green said.

"I have total respect for Michael Chun and he probably deserves to be a (Bishop Estate) trustee but the point is that when you are a president and run a company, people look to you when there is a problem."

Jervis said that Bishop Estate's five trustees recently were given a briefing on the study by Peterson representatives but have not yet seen the complete report.

He said the report will be filed in state Circuit Court under seal today and its findings won't be made public until next week.

Philip Rowley, who headed the Peterson study, could not be reached for response.

The Peterson report likely will play a key role in litigation involving the Bishop Estate, which includes a petition by Jervis and fellow trustee Oswald Stender to remove Lindsey from the estate's board, and a state investigation into charges of financial misconduct by trustees.

The study is a follow-up to court-appointed fact-finder Patrick Yim's report, which harshly criticized Lindsey's management of Kamehameha Schools. After that report was made public, Lindsey relinquished her duties as lead trustee for the estate's educational programs.

The Peterson study will cost the estate more than $500,000.

During last night's speech, Jervis took issue with recent comments by Green that Kamehameha Schools was a "factory of failure," calling the remarks unfair and derogatory.

Green said he had been misquoted and that he had been referring to the academic performance of the elementary schools.

According to Jervis:

Bullet 98 percent of the students in Kamehameha Schools' class of 1998 are going to colleges and four-year universities.

Bullet Kamehameha Schools sends more Hawaiian students to the University of Hawaii-Manoa each year than the entire public schools system.

Bullet In the past decade, the number of National Merit Scholars at Kamehameha Schools has tripled.

"Kamehameha is anything but a factory of failure," Jervis said.

"Indeed, it is an academy of achievement."

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