Friday, October 1, 1999

Bus solution
near for school

The Hawaiian language
immersion students likely
will get rides to Palolo

By Crystal Kua


Hawaiian language immersion students apparently will be allowed to ride the bus to their Palolo Valley school through the end of the year.

Department of Education officials are working to secure enough funding to make that happen.

The effort to find a solution for Kula Kaiapuni O Anuenue comes as the department looks to update its overall plan for the immersion program and address issues such as bus transportation.

Today, Board of Education members, Superintendent Paul LeMahieu, assistant and district superintendents, school administrators and immersion advocates were scheduled to comb existing plans covering the program to decide if any changes are in order.

The majority of Anuenue's students -- about two-thirds of the school's 300-plus students -- live in outlying areas of Oahu and need bus transportation to get to school.

Some parents considered pulling their children out of Anuenue before the start of this school year because money wasn't available to contract school bus service to transport their children from Leeward, Windward and Central Oahu to Palolo.

Anuenue students don't qualify for government-subsidized bus transportation because the school is considered a school of choice.

Bus transportation in previous years was provided by parents who raised funds in the community and received financial assistance from organizations such as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

But funding from the community dried up this year, and parents were left to pay for busing -- it costs about $80,000 a year -- by themselves.

The parents said they couldn't afford it.

The start of the school year was postponed for several days while a solution was sought.

In the end, parents decided to use $8,000 they had raised for new playground equipment, and they expected that would provide busing through September.

Principal Charles Naumu said the playground equipment money and contributions from the public have helped to pay for bus transportation so far. He said bus service will continue -- due in part to the generosity of the bus contractor -- until a permanent solution is in place, hopefully by November.

Naumu said LeMahieu has been working to finalize funding for bus service for the remainder of the year.

Puanani Wilhelm, a Department of Education education specialist overseeing the immersion program, said when officials meet today, they will look over the immersion program's long-range plan as well as its operational and financial plan.

The group will prepare for school board approval a final plan that will include any recommended policy or operational changes and targeted priorities for funding requests.

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin