On Hawaii Schools: Charter schools

Charter schools deserve budget fairness The per pupil allocation for the students attending Hawaii public charter schools is about to go down by 11 percent. Full Story
english bradshaw

Bradenton, FL

#1 Apr 20, 2008
I am an educational consultant for charter schools in Tampa Fla and throughout the state of Florida for nine years, I lived in Hawaii for more than 30 years, graduated from UHM twice, and I am deeply disturbed that Hawaii is following the same road of declining our children the educational opportunities... in Fl, we have more than 334 charter schools, and our basic student allowance is a paltry $4,617 per student... compare that to the cost per year to keep a person incarcerate per year... our jails are overflowing ... and so, you can PAY ME NOW, OR PAY ME LATER... Aloha
FixIt

Pearl City, HI

#2 Apr 20, 2008
What is really sad is that the money is available. The DOE has a $44 million carryover this year. A special fund for facilities has received more than $2 billion over the years, but the state has only spent about 10 percent of those funds to repair schools. The rest remains in the general fund. Some charter schools operate out of trailers and handmade structures. They don't get facilities money. When is the public going to stand up for their children like the charter school folks do? The DOE (Dept. of Employment, not Education) steals candy from babies and gives it to the unions by increasing the number of dues paying members year after year. Those dues support the same candidates who rip off the public year after year. Let's break the cycle of abuse!
herbert morioka

Kalaheo, HI

#3 Apr 20, 2008
The Charter schools must be doing a good job if the DOE is telling you to stop increasing your enrollment. The Charter schools are showing the DOE that even if your funds are not adequate, you can still provide an education that is meaningful.
Mark Christiano

Kapaa, HI

#4 Apr 20, 2008
Charter schools are public schools. The legislature must provide equitable funding for the children and families that choose charter schools.
herbert morioka

Kalaheo, HI

#5 Apr 20, 2008
To Mark Christiano: You are correct. The law as we interpret it is equitable funding for all public schools. Not so with the DOE. They stand alone and beyond the law and do whatever they want. Somehow they are protected even if they break the law. They have immunity and nobody can challenge their poor performance. The mystery is: Who is protecting the DOE?
herbert morioka

Kalaheo, HI

#6 Apr 20, 2008
To Mark Christiano: You are correct. The law as we interpret it: Equitable funding for all public schools. Not so with the DOE. They stand alone and beyond the law and do whatever they want. Somehow they are protected even if they break the law. They have immunity and nobody can challenge their poor performance. The mystery is: Who is protecting the DOE?
No money

Honolulu, HI

#7 Apr 20, 2008
In case people didn't notice, Hawaii's economy is dramatically slowing down. At a time when everyone is going to have to figure out how to cope with less resources, the charter schools want more.

This is like those children that only cry "Me! Me! Me!" Stop and look around you for a second. There are thousands of people now without jobs and you folks want more.

What kind of lessons are you teaching our kids? That if you hold your breath and pout, you'll get what you want?
Boyce Brown

Mililani, HI

#8 Apr 20, 2008
No money, put a sock in it.

Charter schools don't want more money. They want the same amount they received last year. Even so this is about 3/4 of what other public schools receive - even less when you consider they don't get any facilities money.

In the eight years charters have been around, the DOE budget has nearly doubled even though their student enrollment has declined. Meanwhile, charter enrollment has skyrocketed and funding is a struggle every year and is never equal to the DOE.

"Hold your breath and pout!?" Give it a rest. We are teaching our kids how to engage in the democratic process to struggle for equitable funding required under the state constitution.

If you are going to advocate for a two-tiered system of public education, you should at least get your basic facts straight.
herbert morioka

Kalaheo, HI

#9 Apr 20, 2008
Charter schools are being short-changed. They receive less dollars per pupil than the pupils in the public schools. Why the difference? Who can rule on this difference whether it is O.K. or not?
No money

Honolulu, HI

#10 Apr 20, 2008
from Mr. Zarro's piece:
"Right now we have a budget amount of $56 million to serve a projected enrollment of 8,000 students - that is where the $7,100 per student allocation comes from. If you take $8,149 times the same projected amount of 8,000 students, that equals $65 million. That's nearly $8 million less than required; that money needs to be put back in the budget for charter schools."

It sounds like he wants $9 million more and that's still "nearly $8 million less than required".

So which part are the charter schools not asking for more money?

You want facts? The charter schools' current enrollment is about 6100. Yet somehow they are projecting to enroll another 1900 students, a 30% increase.

Learn to deal.
Gene Zarro

Waianae, HI

#11 Apr 20, 2008
Yes, No Money you are right the current enrollment for school year 07-08 is a little over 6100 for which we recieved about 8000 per student.
Our projected enrollment with three new start up charter schools and one conversion from the DOE puts our statewide enrollment at about 8000 students.
Since we must budget on a per student basis we will go backwards if the number of students is not multiplied by last years allocation.
Pretty simple. The students are the same public school students that have been in the state, just attending charter schools now.
Mahalo for your comments, You clearly state the problem of misinformation.
No money

Honolulu, HI

#12 Apr 20, 2008
Well, I'm glad for your input, Mr. Zarro. I hope that you and the rest of the charter schools are preparing to deal with the limited resources that the economic situation will be imposing on everyone.

I'd also consider working with the CSAO to re-work the formula. There are charter schools that receive funding from Kamehameha Schools to the tune of $1,500 per pupil. However, it is my understanding that the per pupil assessment does not take these factors into consideration.
Gene Zarro

Kapaa, HI

#13 Apr 20, 2008
No Money
Mahalo for the offer of help, we can use all the informed help we can get and it sounds like you have some insight into the challenges of the charter school community. Aloha
herbert morioka

Kalaheo, HI

#14 Apr 20, 2008
The DOE is very rich and they have surplus cash hidden in their bank accounts. How much? I don't know. Also, I don't know why they don't use it for textbooks, repair and maintenance, help the charter achools, hire more teachers to lower the class size, give substitute teachers adequate pay,etc. The DOE is always crying to the legislature that they don't have enough money. Don't be fooled, you taxpayers, because they have enough money and a good size nest egg in their secret accounts.
Gail Weaver

Pearl City, HI

#15 Apr 22, 2008
In a charter school for the upcoming school year, it is projected that a student will be allotted approximately $7,000 from the charter budget. If that very same student were to transfer to a DOE school - thereby increasing the DOE projected enrollment - they suddenly would be allotted $14,000 from the DOE budget. No Money (who I would invite to not hide behind pseudonyms if you feel so strongly about this issue and choose to engage in public dialogue about it), please explain to me that inequity. Actually, I would really like to hear how you would explain it to that child because I am having a difficult time explaining it to students who feel as though they are being discriminated against and to families who feel like they are being manipulated into returning to the DOE the very schools they are attempting to not choose for their children.
herbert morioka

Kalaheo, HI

#16 Apr 22, 2008
To Gail Weaver: The charter schools are definitely going in the right direction without sufficient funds. It seems to me, as an outside observer, that the charter schools are efficiently using their meager funds to educate rather than spending on high administrative costs. The DOE cannot stand the competition and afford losing to the success of the charter schools. More support for the charter schools might be the answer to correct our failing public school system.

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