Idaho is one of the nation’s fastest growing states. Many of our schools are overcrowded, and our student demographics are changing rapidly. Over the past decade, our state’s overall K-12 enrollment has grown by about 55,000 students, almost 20 percent (10,422 students) of which has been in the state’s public charter schools. With all this growth in student enrollment, public schools in Idaho—both traditional school districts and charter schools—have struggled to keep up with the need for new and expanded school facilities.
To help illuminate the scale of the facility financing inequities in Idaho, and most importantly to offer up solutions, especially for public charter schools, Bluum partnered with the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) to generate this policy brief, Building for Success in Idaho. To help illuminate the scale of the facility financing inequities in Idaho, and most importantly to offer up solutions to consider, especially for public charter schools, Bluum partnered with the Foundation for Excellence in Education, Inc. (ExcelinEd) to generate this policy brief, Building for Success in Idaho. One key takeaway from the brief is that because of the facility gap, “an average-sized charter school in Idaho must operate on average with nine fewer teachers, diverting funding intended for student instruction to pay for facilities.”
Because of a growing student population in our state, more schools are needed, and public charter schools can be a critical part of the solution. Doing more with less is noble in public education, but even more noble (and challenging) is doing it well—something that cash-strapped rural and high-need district schools know all too well.
It is our sincere hope that this research and interactive tool produced by our friends at ExcelinEd will provide data and information as Idaho’s lawmakers make decisions about how to best invest valuable state dollars to help Idaho build the new school seats necessary for our students and families.
– Terry Ryan, CEO | Bluum