From a February 20 Idaho Education News post by Kevin Richert.
Members of the House Education Committee voted unanimously Thursday to introduce a groundbreaking — and potentially controversial — charter school funding bill.
The bill would provide $1.4 million to offset charter schools facility costs.
Because Thursday’s hearing was only an introductory print hearing, legislators did not allow testimony from education stakeholders or the public. Now that the legislation has been introduced, a full public hearing one the charter school proposal will likely occur in the coming days or weeks.
Jason Hancock, deputy chief of staff for the Idaho State Department of Education, said a committee including representatives from the Idaho Public Charter School Commission, school district administrators, the Idaho School Boards Association and Idaho Charter School Network crafted the plan after studying charter school rules and laws since June.
Unlike school districts, charter schools are unable to go to voters to seek bonds or levies to pay for facilities. Instead, Hancock said, charter schools often have to spend 15 and 30 percent of their operations money on facilities.
“During the coruse of their existence, (charter schools) have had to scrimp and save and steal in order to pay for facilities,” Hancock told lawmakers will introducing the bill.”
Ken Burgess, a lobbyist representing charter schools, concedes that the bill sets up an “interesting battle” in the Statehouse. (more…)