Aloha Senators Ige, Kidani, Tokuda and Representatives Luke, Nishimoto, Johanson and Takumi,
As you well know, two decades have passed since passage of Hawai`i’s first charter school law in 1994. New frameworks are never seamless, and charters are no exception, however, alternatives in public education are essential to quality public education. It is unquestionable that excellent models and best practices have emerged from specific charter schools that may not have otherwise come about.
The one policy constant among all charter schools has been a historical and ongoing struggle with a broad range of perspectives over “fair” funding. Many charter school communities have innovated, endured, persevered and persisted with only partial and temporary solutions for overall funding and facilities challenges. HPCSN and its member schools remain committed to working with the legislature to look for innovative ways to address these intransigent, yet fixable struggles.
We cannot emphasize strongly enough that the following bills, IF specific and considerable general funding amounts for FY 2014-15 are included, will be the long-awaited game changer in public charter education:
Highest General Fund Priority. $1,524,620.00 additional general funds in EDN600 for the State Public Charter School Commission (over and above the per pupil allocation - currently the HB1700 HD1, SD1 subtracts almost all of this amount out of the per pupil allocation)
High Priority Supported by Charter Facilities Pilot Program. $1,500,000.00 general funds for facilities in SB2516 SD2, HD1 as a first step in developing a consistent and appropriate funding methodology for facilities.
High Priority Supported by Established Practices Facilities Bills SB2517 & HB2576 to pave new and alternative ways, other than general funds, for charter school facilities support.
Mahalo for your supporting your charter schools, your students, their families and communities.