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Legislature OKs expansion of charter school authorization, and boosts funding

Legislature OKs expansion of charter school authorization, and boosts funding

Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
April 4, 2013

The Idaho Legislature has approved two bills that will increase funding for facilities among the state’s charter schools, and will also enable the Idaho’s public colleges and universities to begin operating charter schools as well.

House Bill 206aa, which originally passed in the House as House Bill 206 in early March and was amended by the Senate, was approved on a 40-27 vote.

Under the provisions of House Bill 206aa, in fiscal year 2014 each charter school is expected to receive on average an additional $34,000 from the state's general fund.

Don Keller, executive director of Sage International Charter School in Boise and one of the state’s leading charter school reformers, sees the passage of the House bill as a very positive development. “I think this bill, more than any others as of late, will help to reform public education in Idaho for the betterment of all our students,” he told IdahoReporter.com.

The House also passed House Bill 221aa Wednesday on a 45-22 vote, yet another piece of legislation that passed in the House last month and was amended by the Senate. The bill will expand the number of organizations that are permitted to function as “authorizing agents” of charter schools.

Under current law, the Idaho Public Charter School Commission and local public school districts can officially authorize the establishment of a charter school in Idaho, but with House Bill 221 the state’s public colleges and universities will now be able to function as charter school authorizers.

In accordance with the Senate amendments, House Bill 221 will also require charter schools to re-apply for their charter authorization every five years, and will also require the contracts between charter schools and their authorizing agents to be reviewed on an annual basis.

Both House bills are now headed to the governor’s office for his consideration.

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