by Andrew Walden (Published Sept 9, 2017 Updated: Sept 21, 2017.)
The recently approved FY2018-19 Office of Hawaiian Affairs budget includes at least $1.5 million assistance to Native Hawaiian charter schools.
(UPDATE: That's $1.5M per year. CNHA scored a two year contract worth $3M according to OHA CEO Kamanao Crabbe. The OHA Trustees meet 10am Sept 21, 2017.)
(UPDATE #2: Michelle Kauhane tells Civil Beat Sept 21, 2017: "The students and schools will get exactly the same amount they were getting last year based on a formula they have at OHA.” Kauhane tells HNN: "The allocation for each of the schools that they received last year would be identical." This raises three Really Obvious Questions: 1) If Kauhane already knows the "exact" amount of each grant to each school, why does CNHA need to take a 15% cut? 2) Does this not mean that CNHA is already violating its OHA contract because it has pre-determined the grant distributions and excluded any new comers even before soliciting grant requests and going through any evaluation process? 3) Given annual fluctuations in enrollment, how can the grants be the same on both a per-school and per-student basis?)
But after Trustees approved the budget, OHA CEO Kamanao Crabbe secretly awarded Robin Danner and Michele Kauhane's Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) a contract to disburse the charter school funds.
At the Sept. 6 OHA Board of Trustees Community Meeting in Kona, beneficiaries from some of the affected charter schools objected to the CNHA contract, pointing out that CNHA has no expertise in charter school education and is pushing its own political agenda.
The next morning at the official business meeting of the OHA BOT, Michelle Kauhane defended the role of CNHA. When Trustee Carmen Hulu Lindsey asked how much money CNHA would take out of the grant as administrator, Kauhane said "about 15%". ($3M x 15%= $450K for CNHA)
Trustee Kelii Akina questioned OHA CEO Crabbe as to when and how OHA was made aware of the charter schools' objections to the contract and asked for the CEO's assessment of Ms. Kauhane's remarks.
Several trustees expressed that they had been unaware of the specifics of the contract. OHA Trustees Chair Colette Machado exclaimed: "We were hoodwinked!"
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ALERT! - OHA GIVING CNHA $1.5 MILLION TO CONTROL CHARTER SCHOOLS
From FreeHawaii.Blogspot.com, September 9, 2017
Please forward this to all Hawaiians and our supporters.
We wish to bring to your attention a very disturbing and appalling action by the Office Of Hawaiian Affairs that has just now come to public light.
OHAʻs administration is giving the Council For Native Hawaiian Advancement $1.5 million dollars of Hawaiian Beneficiary money.
These funds are normally an annual grant given as a funding supplement to Hawai`iʻs charter schools which regularly experience a shortfall in state funding.
By OHA giving the Council For Native Hawaiian Advancement this grant instead, it will allow the CNHA to “weaponize” these funds and control which, if any schools will receive even a portion of these monies.
Reliable sources call this blatant move by the CNHA and OHA an attempt to control through threat of withholding funds, those Hawaiian charter schools which have been vocal in support of protecting Mauna Kea as well as teaching about Independence rather than supporting US federal recognition and Na`i Aupuni.
It is no secret that for some time most charter school students have taken positions that are in direct opposition to those of the CNHA.
Sources also reveal that the majority of OHA trustees have been kept completely in the dark about plans to award these funds to the CNHA.
Sources report that three members of the “old guard” trustees - Colette Machado, Robert Lindsey and Dan Ahuna have been privately aware of this plan in varying degrees for several months.
We ask you to contact OHAʻs administration and trustees to express your outrage at this shameful and repugnant attempt to exert control over Hawai`iʻs charter schools, its students and their curriculum.
Demand that OHA either select a different and neutral “intermediary” to channel these funds through or give them directly to the schools themselves.
Please contact OHA today -
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March, 2017: OHA seeks input on upcoming budget (for three days)
April, 2017: Robin Danner Writing OHA’s Budget