On October 5th the KCA education committee and Kihei High School Action Team working with Wesley Lo hosted a Kihei High School meeting at Kamalii Elementary and a subsequent site visit.
In attendance: Maui BOE Representative Wesley Lo; Hawai’i State Senator Roz Baker; Hawai’i State Representative George Fontaine; South Maui Council Member Don Couch represented by Susan Clements; Page Fontaine; Kihei Community Association’s Education Committee Members Andrew Beerer, Yvonne Biegel, Halleh Dunnicliffe, and Laura Marzke.
Absent: Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s Maui representative, JoAnn Inamasu.
Special Guest: Ray L’Heureux, Assistant Superintendent for School Facilities and Support Services, Hawai’i Department of Education.
Andrew Beerer presented enrollment facts from the following Kihei schools as of 9.28.2012:
Kamalii Elementary – 623 students
Kihei Elementary – 977 students
Lokelani Intermediate – 521 students
Maui High – 1880 students
Baldwin High – 1605 students
Kihei Charter Middle – 194 students
Kihei Charter High – 252 students
At this rate (without any population growth) – in 2016 – there will be 1033 high school aged students in Kihei. Far more than the 800 planned for in Kihei High School phase 1.
Other statistics were given to reflect the OVERCROWDED SCHOOLS AND GEOGRAPHICAL SEPARATION.
The 2010 census reports more than 1,800 people ages 10-20 within 1.5 miles of the high school site and more than 4,800 ages 0-10. This indicates that even without additional housing units, demand for high school seats will nearly triple in the next decade.
Maui High School is designed for 1,580 students, now exceeds its design capacity by 300 students.
After emphasizing the need for Kihei High School, Andrew presented an overview of the history and past funding of Kihei High School since 2004. Sen. Baker, Rep. Fontaine and Wesley Lo added their input to the information presented.
The KHAT group subsequently looked to establish a plan to fund the project in the Governor’s 2014 budget.
Andrew Beerer stated the Kihei High School needs $3 million for engineering studies to keep the project on track. He requested a strategy consensus from all before adjourning the meeting on how to best achieve those funds. Sen. Baker recommended the Department of Education allocate the funds for the Governor’s budget due December 15, 2012. The Governor’s budget will then go to the Legislature next January.
When asked if the DOE can commit the $3 million, Mr. L’Heureux did not commit, citing various problems with the traditional design of schools as well as old DOE school design templates. Andrew reminded Ray L’Heureux that the current Kihei High School plan has been adopted by the DOE and is currently the DOE’s plan, not the Kihei Community Association’s plan.
After the meeting, the group caravanned to the Kihei High School site. Wendy Rice of Kaono’ulu Ranch greeted the meeting attendees at the ranch gate at the intersection Kulanihakoi and the Pi’ilani Highway (mauka side). Once we re-grouped out of our cars inside the gate and at the base of the high school, Andrew Beerer gave those in attendance a general overview of the proposed Eclipse Development shopping center site, the proposed enhancement of the Pi’ilani / Kulanihakoi intersection (highway entrance to the school, R-1 water line terminations, the buffer zone between the high school and the Pi’ilani Highway and how the Kihei High School will be situated on the parcel.
Andrew then introduced Wendy Rice of Kaono’ulu Ranch who gave us history of the ranch land, an overview of where the Kihei High School project infrastructure will be placed on the site, and how the planned road(s) will connect to the proposed upcountry highway.
Andrew Beerer and Wendy Rice answered the group’s general and more specific questions about the high school project.
The meeting ended at 12:30 pm.