Maui News

Free Public Kīhei Charter School to Open August 2018

September 20, 2017, 12:57 PM HST
* Updated September 20, 12:59 PM
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The South Maui Learning Ohana announced that the new three-story Kīhei Charter School is on budget and on time for a scheduled August 2018 opening.

This artist rendering of the Kihei Charter High School shows its location off of Lipoa Parkway in the Maui Research and Technical Park. Above the site is an existing water tank that serves South Maui. The school is scheduled for completion in August 2018 and will house 625 students in grades K-12. Photo Courtesy

Gene Zarro, CEO of SMLO, says the free public school is accepting students from all areas of Maui and that an estimated 625 students from grades K-12 are already enrolled.

Funds for the project were granted by the United States Department of Agriculture/Rural Development in the form of a 40-year $17.7 million loan. Officials with the school say it was the last and the largest loan approved by the USDA for a non-profit before Kīhei was no longer eligible for such loans due to its population growth exceeding the government’s official ‘rural category.’

Officials say the school is taking full advantage of the sun by adding a photovoltaic system on the roof and parking lot to minimize operation costs.

The Kīhei Charter School says it believes it has to grow to serve the educational needs of all Maui and hopes that one day there may be charter school campuses in West, Central and Upcountry Maui. “I believe in a quality public education for any student who wishes to enroll. That means we have to have enough facilities and space to take all comers,” said Zarro.

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There are still seats available for students this school year. For more information contact Gene Zarro at (808) 385-1197.

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