Charter School Funding

North Star Charter School in Eagle started classes Thursday morning. As parents dropped off some of the school’s nearly 1,000 students administrators told them the worries that it might have to close in the next few months seem to be over.

Gadget_Guru / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's largest school district, Meridian, wants to revoke the charter of North Star Charter School in Eagle. North Star has filed an appeal to Idaho's State Board of Education according to Idaho Education News.

The Meridian School District wants to revoke the charter of one of the state’s biggest charter schools according to Idaho Education News. North Star Charter in Eagle has more than 900 students and has received national recognition for academic rigor.

The Salmon School District did not get the super majority it needed to pass a bond for a new school. 901 district voters said no to the $14.6 million dollar bond for a new combination elementary and middle school. Just 645 people said yes. This was the 9th failed bond vote for the small district on the Montana border.

Unlike previous elections this ballot had an alternate bond proposal. It was $3.6 million dollars for safety upgrades to the existing schools. Voters rejected that even more definitively; 1,184 to 354.

Idaho’s 2013 legislative session is expected to wrap up Thursday. Passing the public education budget has held lawmakers up. Wednesday another of the session’s big education issues cleared its final hurdle before heading to the governor’s desk. But the overhaul of the state’s charter school law is not what backers had hoped it would be.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

We’ve been following the budget crisis in the Nampa School District since last summer. That was when the state’s third largest district revealed accounting errors had created a deficit of $4.3 million. That is also the levy amount the district is asking Nampa voters to approve Tuesday.

Since its crisis began the Nampa School District has eliminated most of the substitute teaching budget, furloughed employees, decided to sell off land. But that’s not enough. That’s why fourth grade teacher Carmi Scheller is counting on the levy.

Charter advocates in Idaho are pushing for an overhaul of the law that governs their schools. State lawmakers are looking seriously at that. And this week two bills have passed the House.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Charter school advocates in Idaho are pushing state lawmakers for money to help pay for facilities. They argue they need the money because they can’t pass levies like traditional districts. Many districts say they need that money even more.  There’s one charter school that’s become a poster child for this debate over school funding.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Tuesday lawmakers in Idaho’s House Education Committee hear from the public and vote on a bill to give more money to charter schools. Under the bill charters would get money each year for buildings. Advocates say they need it because they can’t pass levies like traditional districts. But some districts call the measure unfair. Now a fight could be brewing between the two groups as both vie for limited state funding.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The public wasn’t thinking much about Idaho charter school funding until lawmakers held a pair of public meetings this month.  That was when charter school advocates turned out in droves to plead for more funding.

Idaho lawmakers Thursday agreed to consider a bill to give more money to charter schools. Jason Hancock with Idaho’s Department of Education told the House Education Committee charters have a hard time paying for buildings.