Charter Schools Movement State Timeline
Hawaii charter schools . . .
Hawaii passes its first piece of alternative schooling legislation. Act 272 allowed for the creation of “Student Centered Schools”. Like charters today, this act freed up schools to practice alternative administration and educational policies without having to follow all of the traditional school district requirements.
This initial legislation, Act 272, allowed for 25 existing schools to convert to charters. Hawaii is unique compared to other states because it has one statewide school district, which is overseen by the board of education. The board of education oversees the commission to authorize charter schools.
“Wai’alae School signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Hawai’i State Department of Education to become Hawai’i’s first Student-Centered School.” It would become the first school to convert from the existing department of education.
Lanikai elementary (now Kaʻōhao elementary) is the second school to sign an agreement with the state to become a student-centered school.
The Hawaiin legislature enacted Act 62, “New Century Charter Schools”. This act would encourage both new start up charters and conversion charters. Wai’alae school and Lanikai both become official charter schools. These first charters and their governing boards were directly responsible to the state board of education. If the schools were meeting state performance standards, had nondiscriminatory admission policies, and were free, they would be freed from statutory and regulatory requirements of the state.
To address some of the inequalities in funding when it comes to charter schools, Act 187 was passed in 2000. This act applied a new funding formula that required federal funding and other financial assistance to not be less than their traditional school counterparts. This does not include facilities funding.
For the 2000-2001 school year, 6 new century charter schools operated in Hawaii.
For the 2001-2002 school year, 17 additional charters are opened in Hawaii.
In 2008, 31 charter schools served 7,600 students. 17 of these schools are focused on Hawaiian culture and roughly 58% of students in charters are Hawaiian or part Hawaiian.
“In 2011, a Task Force was formed to investigate the policies and practices of the Panel and the CSAO.” The task force was created in response to advocates and legislators’ concerns over the integrity of Hawaii’s charter school governance structure, authority, and accountability of the charter law.
”In 2012, ACT 130 was the legislative response to the Task Force report, and Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes 302D is the law that now governs charter schools in Hawaiʻi.”
Overall, the enacted law would repeal chapter 302B “Hawaii Revised Statutes” and institute a new charter law which promotes a solid governance structure with clear lines on authority and accountability.
The State Public Charter School Commission (SPCSC), the state’s sole charter authorizer, was established in 2012. The overall goal of the commission was to increase fiscal and academic accountability in chartering. The 9-member board directly reports to the state board of education. The SPCSC has a direct performance contract with every charter school’s governing board and maintains oversight authority. Act 130 directly advocated for an additional authorizer.
The National Association of Charter School Authorizers recommended the state add more authorizers, reasoning that, “... a single authorizer may have a tendency to create unnecessarily bureaucratic and overly burdensome regulations over time, particularly as more charter schools are established and overseen by the authorizer.”
For the 2018-2019 school year, Hawaii was home to 36 charter schools, supporting roughly 11,000 students.
Hawaii's state board of education put out a call inviting applications for chartering authority. As of right now, the only charter authorizer is the Commission.
There are currently 37 charter schools operating in Hawaii, serving approximately 12,000 students. The five largest include, “Hawaiʻi Technology Academy (1,403), Kamaile Academy (949), Kīhei Charter School (693), the Hawaiʻi Academy of Arts and Sciences (683), and Kanu O Ka ʻĀina (612).”
2011- Task force objectives.