Maui News

Gov. Green announces Kūlanihāko‘i High opening agreement

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Artist’s rendering of a Kūlanihāko‘i High School classroom building. Photo Credit: Dept. of Education

Governor Josh Green, M.D. announced that students will be allowed to physically attend Kūlanihāko‘i High School and access its state-of-the-art facilities after construction is completed and the Department of Education sets an opening date.

The State and Maui County have entered into a Memorandum of Agreement in which the Department of Education will receive a temporary certificate of occupancy in exchange for the State temporarily agreeing to indemnify the County against theoretical future claims of liability.

The governor’s announcement comes following Mayor Richard Bissen’s State of the County Address last night in which the mayor pointed toward the potential agreement.


The Department of Education will continue to move forward with the requirement that it build an elevated pedestrian crosswalk, which is required for a permanent certificate of occupancy to be issued. Construction of the raised crosswalk will take three years to complete at an estimated cost of more than $25 million.

“This is another example of my administration taking bold action to get things done in a collaborative and inclusive manner,” said Gov. Green in a news release announcement. “This is to the credit of the remarkable leaders on my team, dedicated lawmakers from Maui and Mayor Richard Bissen, for their hard work and focus on helping people.”

“The Department of Education is optimistic that Kūlanihāko‘i High students will be able to start the new school year in August at the new campus. We will continue to work closely with Maui County, Gov. Green, the state Department of Transportation and the Land Use Commission to address any concerns and ensure student safety,” said Deputy Superintendent Curt Otaguro.


The opening of the brand-new school has been delayed by the lack of a grade-separated pedestrian crossing required in a 2013 Land Use Commission decision. Students have been attending high-school level classes at Lokelani Intermediate School in the interim.

Kīhei Representative Terez Amato said, “After waiting decades for this school we are grateful to have the support the leadership shown by our outstanding Governor and our excellent Mayor.  Education is a core value in our community. Our students, teachers, our economy indeed our entire community all benefit from such excellent leadership.”

“I want to thank the governor and the mayor for working collaboratively with myself and Rep. Terez Amato on creating this temporary solution, so that the keiki can utilize the campus in a limited, safe manner,” said Sen. McKelvey. “We remain committed to funding the required grade-separated overpass. By making this only a temporary solution, it continues to put the onus on the DOE to follow through on what should have been done before this point.”


Departments involved in the collaborative effort included Attorney General Anne Lopez; State Transportation Director Ed Sniffen, Department of Education Superintendent Keith Hayashi; Keith Regan, director of the Department of Accounting and General Services, and leadership from the County of Maui including Sen. Angus McKelvey (West Maui, Mā‘alaea, Waikapū, South Maui), Rep. Terez Amato (Mā‘alaea, Kīhei, Keawakapu, Wailea, Mākena) and Mayor Richard Bissen.

Kūlanihāko‘i High School is being built to serve the families of South Maui and is being built in phases.


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