HONOLULU (KHON2) — Kulanihako’i freshman, Shayla Suetos, was looking forward to making her prep sports dreams come true at the new state-of-the-art campus.
“I actually wanted to be a four-time state champ for wrestling for high school, but since we missed this year, I know it’s not really going to happen and I’m kind of bummed out about it,” said Suetos.
Instead, Suetos and 38 other Kulanihako’i ninth graders are spending their freshman year learning in portables at Lokelani Intermediate School.
“There’s no use for it. It’s just sitting there waiting for us to come,” Suetos said.
The State Land Use Commission had orders since 2013 for the Department of Education to build a pedestrian crossing on Piilani Highway in order to open Kulanihako’i High School, but the DOE gave the green light for a roundabout to be built instead.
Now, the Kihei Parents Hui is taking to the street and sign waving in an effort to get the school open.
“We will make sure that every kid has a safe way to leave campus and does not have to cross the intersection at the roundabout,” said Rebecca Hill, of the Kihei Parents Hui. “So between families and parents and busing, I believe that we can really safely open this campus immediately.”
There have been talks about Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen signing a temporary occupancy certificate to open the school. However, Bissen’s office said, the County is legally bound by the Land Use Commission’s order for the mandatory pedestrian crossing.
The DOE hopes to have a concrete design plan for the grade-separated pedestrian crossing by late summer. It stated that at that point, it can then go to the legislature for funding and begin construction.
The DOE said, building the pedestrian crossing would cost another $16 million. State Rep. Terez Amato is looking to save taxpayer dollars this time around.
“Let’s see if we can get some federal money into the state. Everyone always has their handout, saying give me give me and I’m saying let’s bring some in and try a different solution,” said Rep. Amato, (D) Kihei, Wailea, Makena, “We can save taxpayer money that way.”
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The Kihei Parents Hui has another sign-waving event on March 28.