Albertson Foundation

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

A new, bright yellow marketing campaign is taking place on the Boise Greenbelt. Chalk stenciling with the phrase “Buck the Quo” is written on the path in places like Ann Morrison Park.  City officials say it's one of a limited number of nonprofit marketing campaigns approved by the city. 

Any Greenbelt advertising without the City of Boise's permission is illegal. Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway says it’s not often that he says yes to a marketing request.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation has offered to help finance possible research and other studies in the state's pursuit of modernizing how Idaho funds its public schools.

Sen. Chuck Winder says the foundation on Monday offered to write a check to the legislative committee in charge of reviewing the state's complicated school funding formula. Winder, a Republican from Boise, did not say how much was offered.

Attempts to contact the foundation were not immediately returned Tuesday.

The Boise School Board and the district’s superintendent have come out with some sharp criticism of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation. The rebuke comes in the form of an op-ed related to how the foundation portrays Idaho schools. 

At the center of the controversy is a TV commercial from the Albertson Foundation’s “Don’t Fail Idaho” campaign. In it, a school bus with five teenagers stops in the middle of nowhere. Four get off and the bus drives away. Then a voice says...

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation has given away about $30 million a year in Idaho since the 1990s. Most of that money has gone to projects involving Idaho’s public schools. But foundation Executive Director Roger Quarles says the board and staff are frustrated with how that's worked out, and are changing the way they give.

“Since 1997 we’ve invested almost $700 million in K-12 and higher ed,” Quarles says. “And to me, it looks the same as it did 17 years ago. School basically looks the same, feels the same as it did a hundred years ago in Idaho.”

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Meridian will be getting a new YMCA, city park and elementary school. The Treasure Valley YMCA announced Thursday it will build its first new facility since opening the Caldwell Y nine years ago. The new South Y will be built in Meridian south of I-84 near Eagle Road and Amity.

It will be built on 22 acres of donated land. The J.A. and Katherine Albertson Foundation is donating $4 million to start the project.  

Today’s teenagers will soon inherit all of the worlds’ big problems. So why not enlist their help in solving them? That’s the idea behind the 24 Hour Think Challenge sponsored by the J.A. And Kathryn Albertson Foundation and the student leadership organization One Stone.

This week the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation announced it would give up to $5 million to create a new school that would be unique in Idaho.

Idaho has 48 charter schools. The publicly funded, independently run schools have strong support from some of the state’s top political leaders. But a new report says Idaho is not doing enough to encourage charter growth.

Idaho’s Education Superintendent Tom Luna has spent the past two weeks visiting schools across the state to hand out grant money from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation. Luna has given out about two million dollars to help 15 districts and charter schools learn to use a new state program called Schoolnet. The online system allows teachers to share lesson plans and conduct student assessments.It’s already available to all Idaho teachers. The largest grant went to the state’s largest district. Meridian got 250 thousand dollars. Kuna, Melba, and New Plymouth also received grants.