Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Big Island Briefs

Charter school wins lawsuit

HILO (AP) - A public charter school on the Big Island has won its lawsuit against the state in a dispute over funding.

Connections Public Charter School sued the state in January 2002 after its budget was cut $400,000 when the Department of Education stopped including special education students in its student count.

The amount of the settlement hasn't been revealed, but school CEO John Thatcher said he was "very, very happy" with it.

"All financial issues were settled to what the (local school) board perceives as beneficial to the school, ensuring our continuing financial well - being," Thatcher said. "We also made essential progress concerning substantive issues regarding access to grants, delivery of services and school autonomy."

Some of the problems arose because charter school laws were not specific about how some things should be handled, said Deputy Attorney General Russell Suzuki, who represented the Department of Education.