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Partial list of churches using public school facilities

August 24th, 2013 · 26 Comments

Mitch Kahle and Holly Huber have made available a list of 126 churches that were using public school facilities based on documents they have been able to obtain for the 2011-2012 school year.

Some schools are used by more than one church on weekends. Certain listed schools

The list doesn’t include the five top schools named in their lawsuit (Kaiser High School, Kaimuki High School, Farrington High School, Mililani High School, and Kapolei Middle School.

They say they’ve been unable to compile a full and accurate list due to “stonewalling” by the Department of Education. Occasionally listings may refer to one-time use, such as for a conference.

They describe a few other limits to the list.

Some of the churches have left the schools since our investigation began. For example we have evidence that both Lighthouse Baptist at Naalehu Elementary and The Wave at Enchanted Lake have stopped using school facilities once the proper charges were imposed. New Hope has stopped meeting at Ala Wai Elementary as well as Farrington High and Kapolei Middle schools.

There is also a certain amount of movement by some churches as they have moved schools just in the past year or two. Not so for Hawaii Kai United Church of Christ; they have been meeting at Hahaione Elementary for 28 years! The church is frequently mentioned in the public school’s newsletter.

We have requested applications filed for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years but the DOE has been uncooperative. It is apparent that the DOE has no idea what schools are providing facilities to churches or other users as the system is completely decentralized with no oversight.

–> List of 126 churches meeting in public schools.

Tags: Court · Education · Politics

26 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Damon // Aug 24, 2013 at 10:11 am

    This list is missing Pahoa High and Intermediate as I know a church meets in their cafeteria on Sundays.

    I wonder how many other schools may be missing?

  • 2 samizdat // Aug 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Nixon had an enemies list too.

  • 3 Mitch Kahle // Aug 24, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Except Nixon was the crook.

  • 4 John Bruce // Aug 24, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I noticed New Hope signs on the street and intersections at Kaahumanu Center on Maui advertising their services at the cinemaplex there. I have never noticed them in the past. I bet they pay dearly for the space, not on the taxpayers dime. Signs were illegally placed by the way as I see it.

  • 5 Bill // Aug 24, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Looks like the Catholic Church escaped this scandal.

  • 6 Patty // Aug 24, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Most of the list appears to be Fundamentalists.

  • 7 Michael in Waikiki // Aug 24, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    THERE has always been Good Mitch Kahle and Bad Mitch Kahle.

    Good Mitch started this investigation and lawsuit. Brave and smart.

    Bad Mitch shows up to a BOE meeting and becomes so irate he has to be escorted away by a Sheriff. Dumb and dumber.

    I MUST SAY I never realized how many churches were using public schools for their services. I always thought it was limited to just a few. And to think many were paying for 8 hours rent when they were actually using the facilities for 16 or more shows how inept DOE bureaucrats still are after years of past scandals and audits.

    I don’t place the blame entirely on the school principals. It’s hard to tell members of the community in which your school serves “no” and not be tempted to look the other way and give the church renting your school a break. Some churches donated much needed facility upgrades that benefited students and teachers during the school day. Evidently the Farrington High auditorium was equipped with a state of the art sound and light system thanks to New Hope (before the roof caved in). There might be other examples out there we aren’t aware of.

    And I’m not so sure elected volunteers like Don Horner and the rest of the BOE should be held fully responsible and dragged through the mud.

    In my opinion it’s the nameless and faceless DOE bureaucrats earning six figures with all kinds of equally generic job titles that should lose their jobs over this if the allegations in this lawsuit are true. The same people that are being accused of stonewalling this investigation and not cooperating. It’s there job to track the money, how it’s being spent, where it’s coming from and for what. The DOE has been bleeding dollars for years and in the end the same HGEA protected civil servants keep their jobs and nothing changes.

    On another note, taking into account the large number of churches named in the lawsuit, it’s safe to say there will be a considerable amount of blow-back.

    Yes indeed, this will be one lawsuit to track and follow.

  • 8 ForPeople // Aug 25, 2013 at 12:28 am

    Any chance the weight of the “state of the art” sound and lighting system contributed to the ceiling/roof coming down…
    Who ensures the quality and safety of these “facility upgrades?”

  • 9 Kolea // Aug 25, 2013 at 12:57 am

    Michael,

    Not all the churches using the school facilities are defrauding the public by underreporting their hours of usage, but several of them have been caught doing exactly that.

    But as I read your comment, watching as you try to assess where the blame belongs, you totally skip over the churches? WTH? You don’t place all the blame on the principals (darn nice of you). No. The problem is the HGEA and the high-ranking unnamed bureaucrats in the DOE.

    No blame goes to people like Don Horner, despite the fact he heads the BOE which has responsibility (and accountability?) over the schools. Despite the fact the Church in which he is a leader denies the validity of the concept of separation of church and state and explicitly proclaims a strategy of exercising “dominion” over government in order to promote their religion?

    But we can blame the “bad” side of Mitch Kahle who had the nerve to call out Horner for his obvious conflict of interest? BTW, the fact a government official has the authority to call out the Sheriff’s Department does not mean their opponents are “bad.” It just means the person with official power doesn’t appreciate being called to account in a meeting THEY control.

  • 10 chris // Aug 25, 2013 at 5:29 am

    What angers me isn’t church use of schools on Sunday when they aren’t being used . The New Hope and BYU plans to pave ag. land for their development schemes are truly scary!

    They would never be allowed without the politicians/corrupt system which enables them.

  • 11 Michael in Waikiki // Aug 25, 2013 at 8:40 am

    IS THE main sticking point of this lawsuit churches under-reporting hours or school principals (DOE) under-charging?

    In other words, did some of the churches named in the lawsuit purposely intend to cheat? Or did the DOE purposely undercharge?

    If it’s under-reporting by churches, then those churches should pay back those hours they received at no cost and school officials should be held accountable as well. Those guilty churches should also fess up and apologize.

    If it’s a system-wide cover-up, indeed, let’s find out what happened and who is responsible to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

    As far as Don Horner and the rest of the BOE goes, ahem, they were appointed by our Governor. This mess is on his hands. If Horner doesn’t voluntarily step down before his term ends I will be surprised. But in the meantime, as much as supporters of this lawsuit would like to believe, this issue is not the single-most important item on the BOE’s agenda. They have a state-wide school system to guide and monitor. Things like Race to the Top results of Strive and many more immediate and pressing issues at hand than this lawsuit.

    And if people are uncomfortable with the head of the BOE being so religious–don’t know what to say–he was appointed by our Governor.

    Which gets me back to bad Mitch. After all these years he still doesn’t get it. The public might start warming up to him if he would take a few deep breaths before he gets out of control at public meetings and places. It only hurts his public image and credibility. Just saying.

  • 12 Alan R. Spector // Aug 25, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Thanks John Bruce for pointing out another issue: SIGNS.

    In my community of Kaneohe, every Friday, New Hope and Hope Chapel put signs out all over the roads at every intersection. These signs stay in place for 3 days. At one point, the signs were going up much earlier and would remain up for at least 5 days.

    This is wrong on so many levels.
    1) signs on public property in Hawaii are illegal!

    2) Why doesn’t the state enforce its own law? Essentially New Hope et al is getting FREE advertising on public land at the expense of the Hawaii tax payer. They also put signs on public sidewalks and I’ve seen these signs restricting access for the disabled. i.e. blocking curb cuts for wheelchairs or taking up so much space on the sidewalk that a person with a wheelchair or walker would have difficulty passing by.

    3) By not enforcing laws that ban signs on public property, the State of Hawaii is in effect supporting New Hope’s proselytizing to the public. This is a violation of Separation of Church and State.

    It is no coincidence that you don’t see mainstream religious organizations placing signs with religious messages all over the island. It is only these evangelical Four Square churches that have the vision of imposing their beliefs on all of us and making Hawaii a “Christian State.” Enough already. THANKS to Holly and Mitch for exposing these people. Hoping that we can not only resolve the DOE issue but also get the state to enforce its own laws against public signage.

    Question: The County law that is being used to remove all the property of the homeless, can’t that also be applies to these signs? Aren’t they considered abandoned property? How come the homeless can’t leave property on the sidewalk but New Hope can?

  • 13 Mitch Kahle // Aug 25, 2013 at 9:48 am

    It is a list of churches known to use public schools and nothing more.

  • 14 Richard Gozinya // Aug 25, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I rented a carpet shampoo machine this weekend. I had to sign an agreement that defined how I would use it, when I took possession and when I had to return it. It said that if I kept it longer than that I would have to pay more money.

    Seemed like a fair deal. You make arrangements, pay the posted rate, stick to the timeframes and terms of the agreement and everyone is happy.

    Maybe if I were a church I could have kept the machine longer, paid less and made up my own contract terms.

  • 15 Nancy // Aug 25, 2013 at 10:13 am

    “Admit” implies wrongdoing on Kahle’s part.

    Kahle is performing a public service.

  • 16 Bill // Aug 25, 2013 at 10:59 am

    I don’t get why someone would wait so long to point out the problem if it was so bad.

  • 17 Cheap and Easy // Aug 25, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    I’m generally no fan of “Bad Mitch” either, and he doesn’t seem to care much whether he endears himself to the public or not.
    But there doesn’t seem to be much news media appetite for follow up to this story unless Bad Mitch acts up, provides some “good TV” and forces the issue. I’m not sure whether Bad Mitch gets that or is just doing his own thing.
    Including on the evening news a brief YouTube clip with a New Hope boss “responding” to his congregation about the suit while dodging the actual issues it raised doesn’t seem to qualify as genuine follow-up, especially when it’s not even clear whether an actual response or interview were even sought by the airing station.
    Bad Mitch might be a pain, but he also might be on to something.

  • 18 samizdat // Aug 25, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Kahle is grinding his personal axe, as are you.

  • 19 stevelaudig // Aug 25, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    There are some ‘commandments’ that cover this situation, which, if the evidence is as it seems to be, quite simple, once you strip off the propaganda. Don’t lie [about hours] in order to steal [the value of the use of the property. These declarations, regarding use, and time, should be under oath and then let the perjury prosecutions, and imprisonment begin. Lack of accountability is rife because no one has to sign anything under oath. Lying becomes a way of life for churches [all in a ‘good’ cause of course except when it isn’t and doesn’t that raise the old ‘ends versus the means’ argument. the churches are serving a ‘good end’ [according to some] so the ‘means’ [lying and stealing] should be forgiven. If these organizations lie and steal enough, or often enough, they qualify as RICO organizations and warrant dissolution and being stripped of their assets [which they were able to accumulate by not paying fair rental value or lying about the hours and avoiding costs]. The more I write about these the more they become common crooks meriting some jail time. Call it prison ministry up close and personal.

  • 20 Keoki // Aug 25, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Had it been announced what the schedule for this lawsuit is?

  • 21 dr // Aug 25, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Respect for the constitution is every American’s personal axe.

  • 22 samizdat // Aug 26, 2013 at 12:38 am

    Then why don’t you have any?

  • 23 samizdat // Aug 26, 2013 at 12:42 am

    OK Alan. Start with the gay churches.

  • 24 dr // Aug 26, 2013 at 1:14 am

    You evidently haven’t been in my garage.

  • 25 Jay Hartwell // Aug 26, 2013 at 3:53 am

    Churches use University of Hawaii at Manoa facilities. Not sure about other campuses.

  • 26 Nancy // Aug 26, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Pointing out your error isn’t a “personal axe.” It’s just a favor. You’re welcome.

    Are you going to add a nonsensical response to this, too?

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