Letter from the Director

Aloha Families and Friends of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School!

So much is happening quickly now that we are only 3 months from opening! But in just 6 short weeks, we have our final deadline with the Charter Commission. On June 28th, our governing board members and Denise Trentham, our school director, will travel back to Oahu to present evidence of meeting our last pre-assurances. Two things need to happen to be successful: our building needs to be finished, including passing all required inspections; and our school needs to be fully enrolled. (For every learner short of our target of 165, the Charter Commission requires that $7,200 in unrestricted cash be set aside). This is our last hurdle to jump over before we open, but cannot open if we don’t meet these expectations. We have every confidence that the refurbishments will be completed and our classes will be full. Parents, community groups and civic leaders have expressed tremendous support for our project-based learning school. And now things are really shaping up for our school at Kahili Mountain Park!

For starters, the Knudsen Trust, owner of KMP, has been tremendously supportive. We can’t say enough good things about them! They are committed to infrastructure repairs before handing over the property to us. The estimate for the roof repair came in at almost double what had been planned for. They didn’t blink an eye at the cost because they believe in our school, and are moving full steam ahead. The work on the roof started Monday, May 14th.

iLEAD Schools Development has also committed amazing resources to support the school. They are helping with the cost of other repairs and restoration. Tradesmen are coming to the site daily to assess, give estimates, or provide services. We appreciate all the offers from our parents and community members to jump in and help. As soon as the trades are finished, we will have painting, landscaping and cleaning parties! We’ll be sending weekly newsletters to keep you up-to-date on our progress and hope you will be able to join in the fun!

Enrollment is now at 142 learners. We still have a few seats open in all classes, grades k-5, but they are filling up fast. We are sad to report that the Charter School Commission, at their meeting on May 10th, denied our request to open with 6th graders this year. Our goal is to be

fully enrolled with 165 learners and a healthy waitlist by June 27th. If you find yourself on the waitlist, don’t despair! Some folks end up moving over the summer, so there is a very good chance we’ll be accessing the waitlist.

We are planning several school information events throughout May and June with governing board members and our school director. Our first one is at Lydgate Park (large pavilion) in the Kapaa/Wailua area on Wednesday, May 23rd from 4:30-6:00pm. We’ll be at St. Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal Church Hall, 4364 Hardy Street, Lihue, on Friday, May 25th from 4:30-6:00pm. On Tuesday, May 29th, we will be at HA Coffee Bar, 4180 Rice Street, Hihue from 4:30-6:00pm. Come and learn more about our tuition free school and bring some friends who may be interested in enrolling their child(ren)!

Our fundraising team participated in the Kaua’i Charity Walk on Saturday, May 12th. Here’s a big THANK YOU to all of you who supported our walkers by donating! It was so fun, we plan to make it a yearly thing; even our youngest walker, 6 year old Colin, enjoyed and made it the whole 3 miles!

Our next big event will be the GoFundMe drive for school furnishings. The price of a 40 foot shipping container (which would hold everything we need to get our school started, including furniture, technology, curriculum, etc.) runs $7,800. All of our materials need to be purchased and shipped by June 15th to be sure they arrive in time for set up before school starts on August 28. It usually takes 6 weeks, but we want to allow a little extra time just in case. The problem is that we do not receive funding from the Department of Education until July 20th. Charter Schools in Hawaii do not receive start-up funds and are not allowed to go into debt, so we can’t borrow the funds needed for these items. We hope everyone will participate in the GoFundMe drive and share the information widely with friends, family, coworkers, businesses you patronize, etc. An individual may want to purchase a table and chairs for a classroom, a few bookcases to hold materials, bulletin boards, or maybe whiteboards. Families may want to sponsor a classroom, with aunties, uncles and grandparents helping out. You can donate for a specific purpose like purchasing furniture, or just for areas of greatest or immediate needs. Recognition plaques will be prepared and proudly displayed for families who sponsor a classroom, as well as any donation of $1,000 or more. All donations are tax-deductible and for a great cause—the benefit of our keiki!!! The GoFundMe drive kicks off Friday, May 25th.

As opening day approaches, and especially these next few week, let’s all work together to get over the last hurdle and open a wonderful school of choice for our keiki!

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Governing Board:
Rick Eckert, Chairperson
Indy Reeves, Vice-chairperson
Nicola Sherrill, Secretary
DrB Blackwell, Member
Jesse Mahorney, Member
Mark Olson, Member