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Tuesday, October 22, 2013
State’s Largest Charter School Responds to Arrest of Former Principal
By News Release @ 11:18 PM :: 3909 Views :: Education K-12, Ethics

Hawaii Technology Academy: State of School

News Release from HTA October 22, 2013

Hawaii Technology Academy is proud of the strides made over the past 21 months. Executive Director, Leigh Fitzgerald has been at the helm of the state's largest charter school since January 2012. From Hanalei, Kauai to Volcano, Hawaii - HTA has over 1,200 students enrolled.  Due to the highly qualified faculty and the growing confidence in HTA's model of blended-learning, the enrollment numbers have doubled on the islands of Kauai and Maui, tripling on Hawaii Island, HTA also inducted the first students on Molokai for the 2013 1014 academic year. Due to HTA's alignment with Common Core, the ability for parents to take an active role in their students' education, and as a public option Oahu has held a waitlist in 75% of all grades kindergarten thru grade 12.

With a rising number of students, HTA is also proud to announce that Hawaii State Assessment scores have risen to 86% proficiency in Reading and 64% proficiency in Math, out scoring the Hawaii state averages in 2012-2013 which were 72 and 60% respectively.

Due to circumstances that were inherited by the current administration, HTA has been held to quarterly audits for the past 20 months. After showing proof of fiduciary and ethical responsibility to the Charter School Commission, this has been reduced to bi-annual. In addition, HTA is one of a handful of charter schools in the state of Hawaii that was in full compliance with all mandated reporting to the DOE and Charter School Commission for the 2012-2013 academic year. Hawaii Technology Academy's goal is to educate the children of Hawaii with a blended learning approach, all while working in partnership with the Charter School Commission and the state.

Hawaii Technology Academy is committed to delivering student-centered education that encompasses the best of what is available in the world today. With that, as HTA continues to grow thoughtfully in coming years, we are committed to being the right fit, for the right student at the right time.

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Fired charter school chief charged in $100K theft

HNN: A financial statement first reported by Hawaii News Now in February of 2012 showed the school spent $107,860 on travel, including airfare, hotels, meals and car rentals for administrators in the year that ended July 1, 2011.  Most of that travel money was for Piontek and his vice principal, Ana Matsumoto, who was placed on leave in late 2011 and also left the school. 

An audit of the school's finances found "abuse, waste or fraud is likely to have occurred."

Piontek declined an on-camera interview in early 2012, but defended the trips he took, saying they were opportunities to spread the news about the school he headed for more than three years and promote Hawaii as a place of innovative learning.

At the time, Piontek said he was not worried about being charged with a crime.

"There's nothing I did that I've done that's a criminal offense," Piontek told Hawaii News Now in February 2012.

Sources said Piontek used the school credit card to purchase thousands of dollars in gift cards and gift certificates at non-school related outlets, including Chilis restaurants, Marriott hotels, Ala Moana Center and Spafinder, the web site that allows people to book body treatments such as massages, facials or pedicures at 7,000 spas around the world.

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