Kamehameha Schools not buying West Hawaii campus

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KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - Kamehameha Schools has decided against buying the campus of a private Kailua-Kona school that is closing at the end of the school year, but another private school has submitted an offer.

Kamehameha Schools withdrew its offer for the 14-acre Hualalai Academy campus last week, West Hawaii Today reported (http://bit.ly/1qeRGso ). But officials at Makua Lani Christian Academy say they’re excited about possibly expanding enrollment and programs through a purchase of the campus 3 miles north of Kailua-Kona.

“We are truly grateful that this opportunity has become available to us,” said Dylan Mabuni, Makua Lani board chairman.

Makua Lani officials said they would move in this summer if the sale is completed.

Hualalai Academy Board Chairman Matt James said many of the school’s students are planning to transfer to Makua Lani, so a sale to the school would allow these students to “stay home” on a campus they are familiar with.

Hualalai officials said last fall they would close the high school because of financial problems. In January, they said the entire school would close at the end of the year. They said bank and private loans would keep the school open until then.

Hualalai Academy has about 120 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It was founded in 1996.

Kamehameha Schools Acting CEO Jack Wong said his organization remained committed to serving the West Hawaii community. Kamehameha Schools will continue to increase its emphasis on assisting and strengthening education in West Hawaii, he said in a news release.

“Accordingly, we are pleased to see an established, quality educational program such as Makua Lani be positioned to grow into the Hualalai campus property,” Wong said.

Kamehameha Schools was established in 1883 by the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. It gives admissions preference to Native Hawaiian students and enrolls nearly 7,000 at campuses statewide.

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Information from: West Hawaii Today, http://www.westhawaiitoday.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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