Construction of this phase of the new Kuranihakoy High School is on track to meet its January opening date.Photo credit: Cammy Clarke

The superintendent of the Hawaii Department of Education and the agency’s architects were invited to a Maui County Council meeting on Thursday to discuss a crosswalk to Kihei’s new high school, which is set to open in just four months.

Neither were the shows.

“Unfortunately, the state DOE didn’t want to face music,” said Tamara Partin, chair of the Planning and Sustainable Land Use Commission.

Commission member Michael Molina further said when he was told that superintendent Keith T. Hayashi and architect Gaylin Nakatsuka of the DOE’s Facility Development Division did not even respond to invitations made by phone and email. Strict.

“This is really bad,” Molina said. “…This is making a statement on their part: they don’t care. They don’t care if their children are killed.”

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The Ministry of Education declined to comment on why representatives of educational institutions did not attend the committee meeting.

When the state land use board approved the Department of Education’s request to urbanize 77 acres of farmland to build South Maui’s much-needed schools, the ministry said walking have agreed to a number of terms, including the construction of an overpass or underpass for bicycles. He safely crosses the Pi’ilani Highway, four lanes of heavy traffic. This ordinance came into force in 2014.

At a county council board meeting Thursday, board members agreed to do the only thing they have power over the matter. We plan to send a resolution to Gov. David Ige and possibly the state legislature, with similar wording to the county legislature’s resolution.

Resolutions 19-20 urged state land use boards to review footbridge or underpass requirements at a time when the Department of Education was “essentially seeking to remove or significantly undermine the requirement.” said Michele McLean, Director of Planning for Maui County.

“The Land Use Commission clearly said no,” McLean said.

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That was three years ago. Since then, the Department of Education has worked with the Hawaii Department of Transportation to set up a $16 million roundabout. Their plan was to collect data on the roundabout when it was operational and eventually he was only enrolled in a limited number of 1,600 students so that it would be safe and other It was to “hopefully” show that you don’t need an intersection.

Kerry King, a committee member representing South Maui, said the Department of Education’s “attitude” that road-level crosswalks are fine doesn’t make sense because they will only use one class at first. “Does that mean it’s okay for one child to be beaten?” she asked.

Kihei Community Association president Mike Moran said that for nearly a decade, the Department of Education has “worked desperately” to find ways to break that threshold. “Now they’re in a pinch and they’re really stuck.”

Twenty-seven ninth graders now attend the newly named Kulanihakoy High School, which is located in the temporary location of nearby Lokelani Middle School. Students are excited to leave their mobile classroom and move into their new school on the Mauka side of the Piilani Highway with Haleakala in the background.

However, Maui County Planning Office Michele McLean said unless the Department of Education amends the overpass/underpass conditions from the Land Use Board, the county will not be able to issue occupancy certificates to schools opening in January.

Maui County Planning Director Michele McLean speaks at the Maui Planning and Sustainable Land Use Commission on September 1.screenshot
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Meanwhile, McLean said:

“I am with my parents [Kihei Community Association] And for a council like us who want to stand out, it’s going to be really tough when the school is ready to open. I think there are some families who say, “I’m sick of it.” come to the county sign off’. “

Tsancyi Lynch is the mother of 14-year-old Cheyenne Gorman, one of 27 ninth graders in temporary school, and eager to transfer to her new school.

Lynch said they live about three to four miles from the new school, so her daughter would have to take the bus to school and not walk across the Piilani Highway.

“I think the roundabout thing scares people,” Lynch said. “But they need high school. It’s not easy, but I hope they get it.”

In a Maui Now Facebook post, Mitsue Okamura Eldredge said her son is also one of 27 ninth graders at the makeshift school.

“Personally, I am very excited about the opening of the new school next year. [Halle] Maxwell, and staff who really care about their students.

“Kihei Charter students cross the bustling Ripore intersection. [Maui Police Department] The presence of officers is very helpful. … I think we need to slow down and drive more carefully throughout the day, not just during school commute times. “

McLean said the Department of Education had “attempted and failed” to remove the overpasses and underpasses, and “eventually they seem to have realized they must take a different approach.”

On Sept. 2, a spokesman for the Department of Education said it would post a public online survey soliciting community input on the measure. The department “hopes to get more specific details from parents and guardians about individual transport plans and feedback on community priorities for the crossing.”

The study is part of the ministry’s pedestrian crossing alternative study, which has already held five focus groups with 60 participants. A community open house is planned for later this month.

However, according to consultants from the Ministry of Education, it will take three to six years to build the overpasses and underpasses. And now there are no funds for it.

Mr McLean said earlier this week that when the Department of Education is due to open in January, it will not allow the use of buses, security guards or He said there was an urgent need to propose an alternative plan. The proposal was approved as an amendment by the Land Use Committee.

Moran said:

And with the current school bus driver shortage, he added, “Where do magic buses and drivers come from?”

McLean told the council committee that he urged the Department of Education to at least put a placeholder on the Land Use Committee’s agenda for the issue. not.

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