One of the largest middle schools in the state is preparing for a major change.
Mililani Middle School opened as a multi-track school in 1998. It’s only three schools in the state that is using that system, which is built on a year-round calendar. But the Dept. of Education wants to get all schools back to the normal school schedule.
The multi-track system was set in place to solve severe overcrowding in classrooms. But that solution came with a price.
Steven Melendrez is part of the school’s parent-teacher-student organization. He says going back to a normal schedule will help a lot of families.
“Families that have children in different grade levels, with having their middle school student on this track, and having the high school and the elementary schools on a regular schedule, sometimes it can be disjointed with the families trying to have a vacation together,” he said.
But for many parents, the biggest driver to get off the multi-track system was that kids had fewer school days.
“Because of the year-round track system, there weren’t as many total amount of hours that were required for instruction. They were not being met,” Melendrez said.
Mililani Middle School also plans to construct a new building with more classrooms. “That would allow the middle school to move away from the multi-track system to the school year that everyone else has,” said schools superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.
But the DOE needs more land to build on. “We are looking at acquiring a little bit of the park next door in order to build another classroom,” she said.
The Mililani Mauka community park is owned by the city. City Councilman Ron Menor says an agreement is in the works to transfer the land to the DOE.
“What we’re trying to work out with the school is to transfer the property to them in a manner that would minimize any expenditures on the part of the state and the DOE and the school system,” he said.
The DOE needs about an acre of the park to expand. Construction on the new building probably won’t start until two to three years from now, and it’s expected to cost about $22 million.
When asked how long does it usually take to acquire land, Menor said “the state and city have been in discussion now regarding this issue for a little over a year. I’m hoping that sometime next year, the city will be able finalize the agreement with the state.”
The other two schools that are still under the multi-track system are Holomua Elementary School in Ewa Beach and Kapolei Middle School.