Heated testimony as Kalihi charter school faces commission

Things got heated Thursday during a meeting between a troubled Kalihi charter school and the commission that oversees it.

Halau Lokahi is not happy with the new board members that the Charter School Commission selected for it.

The replacements are part of the improvements the commission says the school needs to get out of its financial hole.

“We don’t have a bucket of money that we can give to them and our role as a commission is really to make a decision whether schools can open and whether they can stay open,” said commission chair Catherine Payne.

The school has been plagued with financial problems and racked up a debt of more than $400,000.

The commission is also demanding a financial audit of Halau Lokahi, which the school says it has, but the commission has not yet seen.

Several members of the school expressed Thursday frustration and disappointment with the way the commission has handled the situation.

“It hurt us and you folks know that and you folks understand that,” said Kari Kalima, operations specialist for the school.

“I would hope that a speedy decision be made because it seems like we were going to be a rubber stamp to sanction what you already decided,” said Faye Uyeda, a member of the school’s governing board. “What you did to the spirits — I’ve been there — it is devastating.”

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