State briefs for January 10

Oahu Catholic school to drop upper grades

HONOLULU — A Catholic school on Oahu is planning to close its middle and high schools at the end of the school year, citing financial difficulties.

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The board of St. Francis School in Manoa said the entire school could close if enrollment goals are not met.

The school chose to continue teaching preschool through sixth grade rather than reduce services for all students, said board chairman Randall Yee in a letter. The decision to drop the upper grades was not easy, he said.

Of the 447 students enrolled in the school, about 315 are in the middle and high schools.

The school opened more than 90 years ago as an all-girls high school. Lower grades were added in the early 1990s, and it began admitting boys in 2006.

St. Francis’ tuition for high school is among the lowest in the state at $13,000 a year. Its middle school tuition is $11,200. The cost of educating each student is about $18,000 a year, according to school officials.

Meeting enrollment targets is key to the school’s future. While the school is working to avoid having to permanently cease operations for all levels, Yee said if that becomes necessary an announcement will be made by March 31.

Answers sought after boy dies while scuba diving

HONOLULU — The family of a 13-year-old boy who died while scuba diving off Oahu is searching for answers.

Temuulin Tsogt was diving Saturday with his family near Hawaii Kai as part of a tour with Island Divers Hawaii. He was visiting the U.S. from Mongolia.

Honolulu Ocean Safety lifeguards found the boy unresponsive about 60 feet underwater, according to a Hawaii Emergency Medical Services report. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

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The family retained attorney Michael Livingston, who said Temuulin did not have prior ocean or scuba experience.

Island Divers Hawaii said it cannot comment on the investigation.

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