Darren Svan, Idaho Ed News
This story originally appeared on Idaho Ed News
As Bluum awards the last federal grant funds that five years ago kicked off the rapid expansion of charter schools, the organization predicts 2,800 more seats and eight more schools than originally promised.
While those results can’t be celebrated until the last six schools are built and the other 22 completed schools finish growing, Bluum expects to fly by their expansion expectations, made to the U.S. Department of Education in 2018.
And with a new Department of Education grant application process currently underway, and millions of dollars more of federal grant money up for grabs, Bluum is back to work looking for opportunities, new innovations and partnerships. The organization has not applied yet, but expects to make that decision this spring.
In 2018, the money Bluum used to grow charter schools came from a $22 million federal grant awarded for Idaho’s Communities of Excellence Federal Charter Schools Program, which led to the expansion of high-quality charters across the state.
In the final round of that federal program, four charter schools were awarded $1.9 million in 2023 to provide 1,702 seats for new students: Elevate Academy East Idaho, Idaho Falls; Idaho Novus Classical Academy, Avimor; Pinecrest Academy Lewiston, Lewiston; Promise Academy, Middleton.
The entire $22 million was allocated over five years with the goal of starting 20 new schools and providing 8,650 seats for new students.