Education Funding

Charters With Native Hawaiian Focus Get Aid Infusion

By Linda Jacobson — October 25, 2005 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

With the Hawaii Department of Education unable to provide any additional money for the state’s charter schools, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has allocated $2.2 million to the 14 charter schools that have Hawaiian-focused programs.

The grants are meant to provide stopgap funding over a two-year period while the OHA, a state agency that focuses on the needs of Native Hawaiians, continues to push the legislature for more money for charter schools.

“This is truly a commitment by the OHA trustees to support the success of our Hawaiian children in the charter school setting,” Huanani Apoliona, the chairwoman of the board of the Hawaiian-affairs agency, said in a press release.

Of the 14 schools, which serve about 1,700 students, four are Hawaiian-language immersion schools, two offer bilingual instruction in Hawaiian and English, and the other eight conduct most instruction in English, but offer Hawaiian-language classes.

Three of the schools are on the island of Kauai; five are on Hawaii, known as the Big Island; five are on Oahu; and one is on Molokai.

Alvin Parker, the director of the 311-student Ka Waihona o ka Na’auao charter school, said the money—more than $200,000 for his school—would be used to make building repairs and possibly create a faculty parking lot. But Mr. Parker said his school, located along the Waianae Coast on the western side of Oahu, is one of the lucky charters because it has an adequate facility.

The OHA board voted in favor of the grants on Oct. 6 after Jim Shon, the executive director of the state education department’s charter school office, gave a presentation to the trustees that highlighted the reasons why more funding from the state education agency wasn’t available.

He described the department as “completely absorbed with its own series of major changes,” and as “under great stress” because of the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, a new student-funding formula for all schools, and ongoing disputes with Gov. Linda Lingle, a first-term Republican who wants to decentralize the single statewide school district.

“Initially, I think the trustees, or some of them, wanted to cast some blame on our regular department of education,” Mr. Shon said in an e-mail message. “But I tried to make the case that our [department] has too much on its plate to worry about Hawaiian charter schools. So it was up to OHA to step up and provide funds.”

Mr. Shon acknowledged that the state’s 13 charter schools without a Hawaiian focus might be feeling left out, but Mr. Parker noted that Native Hawaiian students are the most disadvantaged in the state.

Funding Disputes

The funding problems plaguing the Hawaiian-focused schools are also shared by the rest of the state’s charter schools.

Hawaii has 27 New Century Charter Schools, which were created to provide a variety of innovative educational techniques. As with many charter schools nationwide, they receive less operating aid and no money for facilities in exchange for greater autonomy from the state.

But the per-student funding formula for the 4-year-old program has been a matter of constant debate.

According to Mr. Shon’s presentation, which was shared with Education Week, charter schools are supposed to receive $6,500 per student. Instead, they receive $5,600, meaning that there was not enough money to cover about 800 of the more than 5,500 students attending the schools in the current school year.

During this year’s legislative session, lawmakers added $1.2 million for charter schools for fiscal 2005 and $1.5 million for fiscal 2006, but still the supplement leaves the schools about $5 million shy of what the formula says they should receive, Mr. Shon contends. Hawaii charters get about $32 million in state aid this fiscal year.

“I do think charters deserve more dollars,” said Rep. Roy M. Takumi, a Democrat and the chairman of the House education committee. “The question is, with those dollars, what kind of accountability are we looking for?”

In his presentation, Mr. Shon also predicted that some charters would continue to struggle, and that some might experience “internal collapse from sheer exhaustion.”

He said it’s unrealistic for the schools to expect a lot more funding from the department, and added that the financial outlook could grow worse if enrollments increase and the formula remains underfunded.

Nevertheless, Mr. Shon said, some of the state’s charter schools are among its highest-achieving schools.

During the 2003-04 school year, charter school students outperformed students at regular Hawaii public schools on state achievement tests and on the SAT college-admissions exam.

Rep. Takumi added that if some of the charter schools didn’t exist, the students they are serving would be dropouts. “They do provide an option,” he said.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the October 26, 2005 edition of Education Week as Charters With Native Hawaiian Focus Get Aid Infusion

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding States Are Rolling in Surplus Cash, But It's Not All Good News for Schools
Some states are ramping up education spending, while others are leaving districts disappointed.
7 min read
Illustration of a man holding oversized money.
Nuthawut Somsuk/iStock/Getty
Education Funding Education Equity Expert: 'We've Gotta Give Up the Notion of Local Control'
David Sciarra, stepping down as head of the Education Law Center, says states have been let off the hook in the push for education equity.
8 min read
David Sciarra, executive director of the Newark-based Education Law Center, an advocacy group for children in low-income cities, looks at paperwork during a hearing in a school funding case before the New Jersey Supreme Court in Trenton, Wednesday, April 20, 2011.
David Sciarra, executive director of the Newark-based Education Law Center, an advocacy group for children in low-income cities, looks at paperwork during a hearing in a school funding case before the New Jersey Supreme Court in Trenton, Wednesday, April 20, 2011.
John O'Boyle/AP/Pool
Education Funding How School Funding Falls Short, by the Numbers
See how states measure up in an annual report on state school funding and equity.
1 min read
A white man looks up as he leans on a red ladder against a tall stack of coins
E+/Getty
Education Funding Special Ed., Civics, and High-Need Schools Get a Boost in New Federal Spending Package
But many advocates say far more money is needed.
5 min read
Illustration of children walking across cliff with dollar bridge.
iStock / Getty Images Plus