Kaua’i public schools score big in building inspections

In a statewide inspection of public schools earlier this year, the Kaua’i

School District received the second highest percentage of top rankings.


inspections — headed by four to seven volunteers from each community —

evaluated schools based on six different categories: grounds, building

exterior, building interiors, furniture and equipment, safety and inspection.

The schools were graded on a scale between one and three points, for a total of

18 possible points.

Schools receiving between 18 and 16 points were deemed

“very good,” while those receiving nine to 15 points were classified as

“acceptable.” Facilities evaluated as having less than eight points were

reported as being “unacceptable.”

Sixty-four percent of Kaua’i’s 14 public

schools were placed into the highest category, with three receiving a perfect

score. Only the Hawai’i School District fared better, with 65 percent falling

into the “very good” category, and seven schools receiving the perfect score.

The remaining 36 percent of Kaua’i schools ranked as “acceptable,” with none

having fallen into the lowest category.

Among the 251 public schools

across the state, 99.6 percent of the schools ranked within the top two

categories. Only one school — within the Maui School District — was rated


The inspection teams — comprised of teachers, parents,

students, school staff and other community members — were designed to provide

a mixture of experience and input into the three- or four-hour evaluations,

said Randal Tanaka, inspection program specialist for the State Board of


“There was a pretty wide variety of people on the teams,” he


The 1,800 volunteers needed for the entire project addressed a

variety of specifics within each category, ranging from unobstructed doorways

and termite infestation to odorless restrooms and properly aligned curbs. Each

of the six categories was assigned a point scale of three points, which

comprised the total score.

Schools that received an unacceptable score in

any category are responsible for addressing improvement efforts with Department

of Education officials. No Kaua’i schools received any unacceptable marks this


Even with the damage sustained in 1992 from Hurricane Iniki, Kaua’i

schools have been able to follow along with the rest of the state in efforts to

improve building maintenance, Tanaka said.

“They’ve been able to bounce

back quite well,” he said. “There’s a real strong commitment to improving


The inspection program was created 10 years ago, when Hawai’i

businessman Lex Brodie saw the disarray of his former school, which prompted

him to call for volunteers, Tanaka said.

“He saw the condition of the

schools, and went out and did something about it,” he said.


writer Matt Smylie can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 226) and



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