OHA approves $6M for Hawaiian-focused public charter schools; 6 are on Big Island
Seventeen Hawaiian-focused public charter schools – including six on Big Island – will be receiving a total of $6 million in support from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs over the next two fiscal years.
At their October meeting, trustees approved a $ 2.7 million Hawaiian Focused Charter School Fund Administration Grant to Kanu o ka ʻĀina Learning ʻOhana (KALO) to manage per pupil funding support for 16 of these schools.
Since Kanu o ka ‘Āina New Century Public Charter School is an educational partner of KALO, their funds – $300,000 in per pupil funding and $150,000 in facilities support – will be administered directly by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
In February 2023, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs awarded a $2.85 million grant to KALO to administer a new phase of the charter school grant intended to support unmet facilities needs. A recent survey among these charters revealed that every single program reported the need for facilities assistance.
Of the more than 4,000 students who attend Hawaiian-focused charter schools, 77% of them are of Native Hawaiian ancestry. Since 2005, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has provided more than $21.5 million in per pupil grant funding to 17 Hawaiian-focused public charter schools.
“We need to ensure that our Hawaiian-focused charter schools have the resources necessary to implement a curriculum grounded in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, ʻike Hawaiʻi, and Hawaiian cultural values,” said Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board Chair Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey. “With these funds, schools can self-determine how to best provide the educational equity needed to serve their students, and have resources available for needed building repair and maintenance.”
Lindsey added that KALO has continually shown its support for these charter schools through its tireless advocacy at all levels, and the network of engagement it provides the schools through meetings, conferences, and visits.
Charter schools face challenges in securing funding for their facilities because they do not receive any Capital Improvement Project or repair or maintenance funds from the state. Data published during the 2019-2020 school year showed public schools received $17,475 per pupil while public charter schools received $9,697 in per pupil funding from the state.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has been a consistent supporter of Hawaiian-focused charter schools, providing legislative advocacy and programmatic support, as well as grant funding support.
The 17 Hawaiian-focused charter schools receiving Office of Hawaiian Affairs grants are:
- Hakipu‘u Learning Center
- Hālau Kū Māna Public Charter School
- Ka Waihona o Ka Na‘auao Public Charter School
- Kamaile Academy
- Ke Kula ‘o Samuel M. Kamakau Laboratory Public Charter School
- Mālama Hōnua
- Ka ‘Umeke Kā‘eo Public Charter School
- Kanu o ka ‘Āina New Century Public Charter School
- Ke Ana La‘ahana Public Charter School
- Ke Kula ‘o Nāwahīokalaniopu‘u Iki Laboratory Public Charter School
- Kua o Ka Lā New Century Public Charter School
- Waimea Middle School
- Kawaikini New Century Public Charter School
- Kanuikapono Public Charter School
- Ke Kula Ni‘ihau o Kekaha Learning Center
- Kula Aupuni Ni‘ihau A Kahelelani Aloha Public Charter School
- Kualapu‘u School: A Public Conversion Charter