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1996-2006 The Honolulu Star-Bulletin |
Vol. 11, Issue 255 - Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Shon's dismissal causes BOE-charter schools 'rift'

The Hawaii Charter Schools Network has asked the Board of Education to enter into formal mediation over differences over the board's firing of Jim Shon, executive director of the state Charter Schools Administrative Office.

"Firing Dr. Shon without discussing the circumstances with us has created an enormous rift in our ability to trust your intentions," wrote John Thatcher, the Hawaii Charter Schools Network's president.

The letter dated yesterday requested the board work with the schools through "a formal mediation process to try to build roads toward the rebuilding of trust."

The Board of Education fired Shon Thursday after an annual evaluation of his performance.

School board Chairman Randall Yee said he was not inclined to have any process that would reconsider the board's decision regarding nonrenewal of Shon's contract.

"The board really feels committed about moving forward and starting fresh," he said.

However, the board is interested in meeting with charter schools "so that we can work towards the appointment of a new director that hopefully can satisfy not only their needs, but our needs," Yee said.

Yee said he has already begun discussions this week with some administrators of various charter schools.

Charter school administrators praised Shon for being a strong leader and advocate, and some demanded his reinstatement last week.

According to a new law, the hiring and firing of the director rests solely with the Board of Education. The personnel matter was discussed appropriately in a closed-door executive session. However, Shon's evaluation was on the agenda, and charter school directors could have offered testimony.

Shon had been present for the evaluation, waited while the board deliberated and was informed immediately following its decision, Yee said. Shon left, and Yee was unable to speak with him in detail.

Yee said he would like to discuss with Shon in more depth the details surrounding the decision.

Regarding informing the charter schools of those details, Yee said, there are privacy issues involved, and he is not at liberty to disclose them at present. If Shon chooses to discuss them, that would be up to him, Yee said.

Yee said he is not certain when and how the decisions concerning Shon and the vote can be made public.

The charter schools will meet Friday to discuss nominations for an interim director of the Charter Schools Administrative Office.

Thatcher requested the board send the charter schools any recommendations for candidates they have along with their resumes.

The network said it will form a selection committee to interview candidates for the executive director position.

Shon, a former state representative, did not return calls to the Star-Bulletin last night.

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1996-2006 The Honolulu Star-Bulletin |