Alakai celebrates

LIHUE — Kani “Dr.B” Blackwell said the approval of Alakai O Kauai Public Charter School hasn’t sunk in.

“There is so much work yet to be done,” she said. “But every now and then, and seemingly for no reason, I break into a big smile and breathe deeply, realizing, Kauai keiki are going to have another school of choice.”

The school was unanimously approved by the Hawaii State Charter School Commission on Aug. 11, following a recommendation for approval in June.

This was the third time the school’s governing board appeared before the commission seeking approval.

Blackwell wants to celebrate the approval by hosting a community meeting at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday.

The celebration includes a silent auction, food and a hula show by Tamatea Nui O Kauai, directed by Wailana Desalia-Duarte.

Kimmer Bighorse, a Native American Hoop Dancer from Oahu, will also be performing.

”We handed out 500-plus invitations at the Kauai County Fair, but the last two community meetings we had, one in May 2014 and one in January 2015 we had 105 and 110 respectively,” Blackwell said.

So far, there are 165 students signed up for “intent to enroll,” at Alakai O Kauai Public Charter School, which hopes grow to 360 students in 10 years. To keep classes to 20 students, officials plan to hire about eight teachers.

Blackwell hopes Friday’s community meeting will generate information about the school’s mission. She also wants to get input from the community about where the school should be located, and hopes willing landowners or philanthropists will help the school find a home.

The board had was in negotiations with Knudsen Trust for Mount Kahili Park, in Koloa, but their proposal was denied last month.

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