Charter School Task Force Promises Concrete Results

Katherine Poythress/Civil Beat

What do the school board chairman, a president of a nonprofit and Kamehameha Schools have in common? They all have a stake in helping to reform Hawaii's charter schools.

A task force of 10 policymakers on Wednesday began a three-month examination of the authority structure for the charter school system.

The Hawaii Charter School Governance, Accountability and Authority Task Force was established by law during the 2011 legislative session to help unravel known knots in the lines of accountability for the 31-school charter system.

At least one school has faced allegations of unethical hiring practices during the last year, and in February the executive director was asked to resign over differences of opinion about her job responsibilities.

But the group, consisting of a cross-section of key players in both public and private education, is not interested in punishments — only solutions.

"This task force is in no way meant to be punitive or investigational," said Sen. Jill Tokuda, who co-chairs the task force with Rep. Della Au Belatti. "This in no way is meant to focus on what's going on specifically at any particular school. Our goal is to take a look at some of the challenges going on, and answer 'How can we make changes for the system as a whole?'"

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