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How Idaho earned a $24.9 million grant to expand school choice opportunities

By Terry Ryan

So much of what happens in the world of public education occurs in the trenches of anonymity where teachers work day-in and day-out to help their students learn, and where administrators labor to make the environment their teachers teach and their students learn as healthy and vibrant as they can, and where parents drop their children off at schools in the hope that their babies will learn what they need to excel in life and as educated citizens of the greatest country in the world. As an educator – or really as a friend and advocate for education and parent choice in learning – it feels good when the work you do is acknowledged and appreciated.

Thus, it was with great pride that I read Governor Little’s recent Tweet (a.k.a. X-positing or whatever we call it these days!) declaring, “Idaho is already a leader in school choice as a top 10 state for the share of students in public charter schools & this grant will expand education freedom even further. Congrats to Bluum on securing this grant to strengthen Idaho’s charter schools!”

Governor Little was referring to the $24.9 million federal Charter School Program (CSP) grant my organization Bluum earned on behalf of Idaho. This grant award is a reflection of the hard work carried out by our charter school board members, leaders, administrators, innovators, teachers and students over the last 25-years. In addition to the support of Governor Little (and that of previous Governors Otter, Risch, Kempthorne and Batt) our state has also been blessed by consistent support in the legislature. We’ve seen a series of legislative improvements to our charter school law in recent years that have given our public charter schools flexibility in the hiring of teachers and school leaders, and we’ve had changes to law that provides support for the creative financing and refinancing of public charter schools. This has been especially important in an era of rising interest rates. Idaho’s public charter school sector has steadily grown and improved over time.


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