East Hawaii News

Hawai`i School Enrollment Up, Led by Charter Schools

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The number of students enrolled in Hawai`i’s public schools was up by 1,818 over last year, an increase of 1.1%, the state Department of Education said Wednesday.

The biggest percentage increase was in the state’s 33 charter schools, which saw enrollment grow to 9,797 students, an increase of 204 students or 2.1% over last year, the DOE said.

A total of 185,273 students enrolled in public schools across the state this year.

Schools on the Big Island kept pace with the statewide average with 1.1% more students for the 2013-2014 school year, with those on the other neighbor islands seeing smaller gains.

Oahu schools also showed a 1.1% increase over last year, with an enrollment of 109,688 students this year.

Big Island enrollment stands at 23,180 students, 265 more than last year.

“The enrollment gains can be partly attributed to the large number of births in 2008 and more students staying in the state’s public schools,” the DOE said.

According to information from the State Public Charter School Commission, Big Island residents are embracing the charter school concept.

Demonstrating that is the fact that enrollments were fairly similar between the Big Island and Oahu, despite the marked disparity in population between the two.

The commission said a total of 3,750 charter students are attending school on the Big Island, compared to 4,849 on Oahu.

However, the Oahu tally includes 1,094 students at Hawaii Technology Academy, an Oahu-based virtual charter school with students and satellite facilities on each island in the state except Ni`ihau.

There are 578 charter school students on Maui, 360 on Kauai and 377 at Molokai’s lone charter school, Kualapuu, which converted from a traditional elementary school.

A commission official said the charter numbers are projections and therefore unofficial, as the exact counts are not due in until Oct. 15. That is also why there is a disparity in the number of charter students reported by the DOE, which was tallied by the department in August, and the unofficial projections provided to the commission by each school.

The largest DOE public schools are all located on Oahu. The biggest, in order, are Oahu high schools Campbell, Waipahu, Mililani, Farrington and Kapolei. Enrollments there range from 2,821 students at Campbell to 2,045 at Kapolei.

A Big Island charter school, Hawaii Academy of Arts & Sciences in Pahoa, is the fourth-largest charter school in the state with a DOE-reported enrollment of 600 students in grades kindergarten through 12.

The only other neighbor island charter school in the top five is Kihei Charter School on Maui with 576 students, which is also a K-12 school.

The top three charter schools are located on Oahu: Kamaile Academy, Hawaii Technology Academy and Ka Waihona o ka Naauao. All are K-12 schools except Ka Waihona o ka Naauao, which has grades kindergarten through 8th.

Breakdowns were not given on other individual schools.


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