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Maui schools among top 5 in state enrollment for 2019-20 school year

Maui High, Maui Waena, Kahului up with Oahu campuses

Maui Waena Intermediate School teacher Dezireen Austin introduces the book, “The Whale Rider,” to 6th-grade students Joevan Begata (from left), Sadee DeCoite and Geovanni Breucop during an after-school study session Tuesday. Austin is the director of the school’s Uplinks After School program. Enrollment at the Kahului intermediate school was the fifth highest in the state. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Maui High, Maui Waena Intermediate and Kahului Elementary made the top five Hawaii schools in enrollment in their grade levels for the current school year, the state Department of Education reported Monday.

Maui High in Kahului had 2,082 students, behind Oahu high schools Campbell (3,077), Waipahu (2,777), Mililani (2,620) and Farrington (2,396).

Among intermediate schools, Maui Waena in Kahului, perennially in the top five, had 1,162 students and was the fifth largest. Mililani Middle (1,875), Kapolei Middle (1,487), Ewa Makai Middle (1,390) and Waipahu Intermediate (1,349), all Oahu schools, were ahead of Maui Waena.

Kahului with 933 students was the fourth largest elementary school in the state behind August Ahrens in Waipahu (1,274), Holomua in Ewa Beach (1,127) and Waipahu (987). Keoneula in Ewa Beach (912) was the fifth largest elementary school.

Enrollments at Maui High (2,017) and Maui Waena (1,555) were up from last school year but down at Kahului School (989).

All three top five enrollment schools are in the same Kahului region with Kahului Elementary feeding into Maui Waena and Maui Waena into Maui High. Some relief is on the way for Maui High with the construction of Kihei high school, which is on track to be completed for the 2021-22 school year. Kihei youths attend Maui High.

Maui Waena moved into a new two-story classroom building in March 2017 that was more than a decade in the making. Questions about plans for a new intermediate school in the Central Maui area or improvement projects at Kahului and Maui Waena were not answered by the state Department of Education on Tuesday.

Principal Jacquelyn McCandless said Tuesday “there is a typical ebb and flow of enrollment with any school, which is reflective of population shifts in our communities.”

She said Maui Waena has taken steps to accommodate all of its students, looking for “areas where we can innovate — whether it’s adjusting class sizes or moving classes to areas of the campus that are a better fit.” McCandless also pointed out that having a larger enrollment has a perk — more funds through the department’s Weighted Student Formula that has allowed the school to hire additional staff and implement programs.

Statewide, public and charter schools enrollment totaled 179,331 students, about the same as last school year. Charter school enrollment accounted for 11,877 students.

Kihei Charter’s enrollment of 689 students was fifth highest in the state among charter schools. Hawaii Technology Academy had the highest charter school enrollment in the state with 1,285 students. Kualapu’u Public Conversion Charter School on Molokai had 327 students.

Two Molokai elementary schools were among the lowest in enrollment in Hawaii. Maunaloa Elementary was second smallest with 36 students; Kilohana Elementary was fourth smallest with 71 students.

Enrollment in the two Maui complex areas was about the same as the previous school year. The Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui Complex Area had 15,946 students; the Lahainaluna-Lanai-Molokai Complex Area had 5,105 students.

Other highlights from the report:

• High schools. Baldwin High in Wailuku had the second highest enrollment with 1,304, followed by King Kekaulike High in Pukalani (1,129) and Lahainaluna (1,061).

• Intermediate schools. Iao Intermediate in Wailuku (1,004), Kalama Intermediate in Makawao (953), Lahaina Intermediate (732), Lokelani Intermediate in Kihei (540).

• Elementary schools. Lihikai Elementary in Kahului (846), Puu Kukui Elementary in Wailuku (762), Princess Nahienaena Elementary in Lahaina (739), King Kamehameha III in Lahaina (726).

The enrollment report can be found at www.hawaiipublicschools.org/ConnectWithUs/MediaRoom/PressReleases/Pages/2019-20-enrollment.aspx.

* Lee Imada can be reached at leeimada@mauinews.com.

** This story includes a correction from story published Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019.