© 2024 Hawaiʻi Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

OHA approves $6M for Hawaiian-focused charter schools

Jason Ubay

Public charter schools that serve Native Hawaiian students are getting a boost in funding to help with curriculum and facilities maintenance.

On Thursday, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs approved $6 million for 17 Hawaiian-focused charter schools over the next two fiscal years.

OHA approved the release of funds last month after a survey among charter schools found a consistent need for building repairs.

Charter schools have long faced challenges receiving funds from the state to help with maintenance issues.

More than 4,000 students — 77% being Native Hawaiian — attend Hawaiian-focused charter schools. Though publicly funded, they have greater autonomy because they fall under the Hawaiʻi State Public Charter School Commission, not the state Department of Education.

However, Hawai‘i’s charter schools are funded per pupil. The 2019-2020 school year showed that charter schools received $9,697 per pupil from the state, while DOE-run schools received $17,475 per pupil.

OHA Chair Carmen "Hulu" Lindsey said the funds would ensure charter schools have resources to implement the curriculum in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi and cultural values.

“With these funds, schools can self-determine how to best provide the educational equity needed to serve their students and have resources available for needed building repair and maintenance,” she said in a news release.

Here are 17 charter schools receiving OHA grants:


  • Hakipu‘u Learning Center 
  • Hālau Kū Māna Public Charter School 
  • Ka Waihona o Ka Na‘auao Public Charter School 
  • Kamaile Academy 
  • Ke Kula ‘o Samuel M. Kamakau Laboratory Public Charter School 
  • Mālama Hōnua  

Hawaiʻi Island

  • Ka ‘Umeke Kā‘eo Public Charter School 
  • Kanu o ka ‘Āina New Century Public Charter School 
  • Ke Ana La‘ahana Public Charter School 
  • Ke Kula ‘o Nāwahīokalaniopu‘u Iki Laboratory Public Charter School 
  • Kua o Ka Lā New Century Public Charter School 
  • Waimea Middle School  


  • Kawaikini New Century Public Charter School 
  • Kanuikapono Public Charter School 
  • Ke Kula Ni‘ihau o Kekaha Learning Center 
  • Kula Aupuni Ni‘ihau A Kahelelani Aloha Public Charter School


  • Kualapu‘u School: A Public Conversion Charter 
Cassie Ordonio is the culture and arts reporter for Hawaiʻi Public Radio. She previously worked for Honolulu Civil Beat, covering local government, education, homelessness and affordable housing. Contact her at cordonio@hawaiipublicradio.org.
Related Stories