PRINCEVILLE — An application for funding for the proposed North Shore High School was denied, but backers said they will continue to support the project.
“The need for a tuition-free community high school on the North Shore cannot be overstated,” said Sheldon Kimber, Kauai North Shore Community Foundation member. “Our community has been without a secondary school for far too long and North Shore families are increasingly impatient with the existing educational vacuum after elementary school.”
On July 23, the Kauai North Shore Community Foundation received word that their application to the XQ Super School Challenge was denied.
“We hoped to make it to the finals, but our disappointment didn’t last long,” said Lorri Mull, education chair of the foundation. “We were a small group on a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and we felt so honored and gratified that the community came together.”
XQ challenges applicants to re-imagine the public high school. If approved, North Shore High School would have received $10 million.
The XQ Super School Challenge is a national competition founded by Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Steve Jobs.
Mull and her team of seven community members will submit their plans for North Shore High School to the Hawaii Charter Commission, to be approved as a charter school.
The application process for charter commission begins in September and runs until February. Because the foundation already planned to go the charter school route, most of the research and leg work has already been completed, Mull said.
The estimated cost for the school is $12 million, which includes land and construction. Annual operating costs are estimated at $1.5 million
If approved, the charter school will appropriate about $6,000 to $7,000 per student for the school. In order to raise the rest of the funds needed, the team plans to pursue grants and establish a donor base, Mull said.
The charter application is a year-long process, and a development year follows the announcement of the charter. If the initial application is accepted, the projected opening date for the school would be the fall of 2018, according to a press release.
The two-story school would be about 30,000-square-feet and designed for about 400 students. The plan is to hire 12 teachers, for a 30:1 ratio of students to teachers.
The North Shore Community Foundation also plans to pursue partnerships with other private schools.
“We have a finite number of students on the North Shore and the best way to serve them is to bring everyone together under an umbrella organization,” Mull said.
Members of the Kauai North Shore Community Foundation want North Shore High School to be as tech savvy as possible, Mull said, and provide a flexible and personalized educational experience for students.
“Kids don’t have to memorize anything anymore; everything they need to know is in the palm of their hand. It’s more a matter of teaching kids to be creative and critical thinkers and work collaboratively,” Mull said.
A location hasn’t been pinned down yet, but officials are considering Kilauea.