Three Idaho charter schools run the risk of a midyear financial collapse, and are on notice with the state.
Idaho’s Public Charter School Commission has issued notices of fiscal concern to Blackfoot Charter Community Learning Center in Blackfoot; Syringa Mountain School in Hailey; and The Village Charter School in Boise.
The three schools received more than $4.1 million in state funding in 2015-16, and the recent notices won’t affect how much taxpayer money they receive for 2016-17. But it does affect the state’s payment schedule.
Instead of receiving the bulk of their state funding at the start of the school year, the three schools will receive equal payments throughout the year. The reason: If a charter school closes in the middle of an academic year, the state has no way of recovering its money. Taxpayers, meanwhile, have to shoulder the added education costs when students transfer from the failed charter school to a solvent school.
“It’s not intended to be punitive in any way,” charter school commission Director Tamara Baysinger said. “But the taxpayers are protected.”
A 2013 state law established the notice of fiscal concern. This is the first time the commission has issued three notices in the same year, but Baysinger downplays that fact. “It doesn’t strike me as a huge change in the number of schools about which we have concerns.”
Here’s a closer look at the three schools on notice: