Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rally Supports Kohala Middle School

Kohala Middle School students carry signs they made in support of their school which is being considered for consolidation by the Board of Education. The school moved to the top of the list because it was being considered for "whole school renovation" -- a program that refurbishes older school facilities giving them a complete "make-over." The DOE decided to hold off on the renovation until it determined if the school should even remain open.

A report completed by a community task force appointed by the Complex Area Superintendent completed a report in December, 2009, however the report has been undergoing additional scrutiny by the Department which has been pushing for a consolidation of the school back to the elementary and high school campus, a few miles away. Following lobbying by the community, the department has taken the position that consolidation would be too costly at this time, however many in the community believe that the educational benefits to the students far outweigh any cost savings that may occur years down the road and only after substantial capital improvement expenditures.

While the department position is now more aligned with the community, we have decided not to take any chances as the department has demonstrated that we cannot assume that it will do the right thing. I will continue to work on legislation that creates more openness and responsiveness to community input and concerns by strengthening the school community council as a way to address these concerns. The full implementation of performance contracts for school administrators which include meaningful input by the school community councils will help to move us toward this end.

Below, Kohala Middle School students gather on the front steps of the school to sing the alma mater.

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