Hualalai board considering Makua Lani offer


Makua Lani Christian Academy has submitted an offer for the Hualalai Academy campus, after Kamehameha Schools officials decided against purchasing the property.

Hualalai Academy announced the change Friday afternoon.

“Many of our current students are transferring to Makua Lani so they will be able to ‘stay home’ on the campus that they are so familiar with,” Board Chairman Matt James said in a press release. “Further, we are pleased that we will be able to finish the year as scheduled and honor all faculty contracts in full.”

If the sale is completed, Makua Lani officials said they would move to the Hualalai campus this summer, with the intent of opening for classes in late summer. Kamehameha Schools withdrew its offer earlier this week.

“We are truly grateful that this opportunity has become available to us,” said Dylan Mabuni, Makua Lani board chairman, adding that Makua Lani is an accredited, pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade institution. “Therefore we are very excited about the possibility of expanding our enrollment and programs through the purchase of the Hualalai Academy campus. We look forward to welcoming our transferring Hualalai Academy students this coming fall and plan to explore future partnership opportunities with Kamehameha Schools.”

Doug Scoufos, whose daughter attends Hualalai Academy and who had been critical of the school’s plan to sell to Kamehameha Schools, said he was very pleased to hear Makua Lani was trying to purchase the campus.

“It’s wonderful for the community and the school,” Scoufos said late Friday. “Everybody was praying about it. I think their prayers were answered. I think it will help the children of West Hawaii.”

Hualalai officials announced last fall they would be closing the high school because of financial problems. In January, they announced the entire school would close at the end of the year, and that bank and private loans were being used to keep the doors open until then.

The board considered offers from both Kamehameha Schools and Makua Lani, eventually opting to select the former’s.

Parents of students were split over whether the board should accept Kamehameha’s offer, or go with a full-price offer from Makua Lani Christian Academy. James told West Hawaii Today in February he received emails supporting and opposing both schools.

Kamehameha Schools Acting CEO Jack Wong said his organization remained committed to serving the West Hawaii community.

“We will continue to increase our emphasis on assisting and strengthening new and existing West Hawaii community educational capacity, resources and partnerships,” Wong said in a press release. “Accordingly, we are pleased to see an established, quality educational program such as Makua Lani be positioned to grow into the Hualalai campus property.”