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Hawaii’s Public Charter School Commission makes progress

Updated: 
December 21, 2016 - 12:05am

Hawaii’s Public Charter School Commission is making progress overall, but there’s still room for improvement.

That’s according to the state Board of Education’s 2017 report to the state Legislature about charter schools. The report is a yearly summary of the state charter system’s successes, challenges and funding sufficiency, among other things.

The report, discussed Tuesday at the BOE’s regular meeting, urges lawmakers to consider providing “some form of facilities funding” to charter schools, which currently do not receive any state money to maintain their facilities.

Leaders at those schools have long complained that lack of funding makes maintaining facilities difficult — particularly because charter schools also receive just a fraction of the per-pupil funding that traditional public schools receive.

The “financial status” of charter schools “remains relatively stable,” the BOE report says. “However there continues to be reason for concern over the financial sustainability of the schools over time.”

“The board encourages the Legislature to provide facilities funding and to consider other supports for charter schools to address the issue of long-term financial stability.”

The report also advises the commission to work more with schools to develop “school-specific measures” — optional, individualized measures the commission uses to evaluate schools.

The commission also is currently under a review following a series of past complaints from charter school leaders. That review has not yet been completed, Tuesday’s BOE report says, but results will be presented at an upcoming public meeting and included in next year’s annual report.

Email Kirsten Johnson at kjohnson@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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