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Idaho’s Communities of Excellence CSP Grant: Year 3 Evaluation

Prepared by the Idaho Policy Institute

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Education awarded Idaho’s Communities of Excellence (COE) consortium a $17.1 million Charter Schools Program (CSP) grant. The amount of the award increased to $22.5 million in 2019. Grant funds will be distributed over five years with the intent to achieve Idaho’s COE objectives. 

The following questions drive Idaho Policy Institute (IPI)’s evaluation of Idaho’s COE: 

  1. How are subgrantee schools using funds for school-site implementation? 
  2. How do students and parents perceive the quality of schools vis-a-vis their prior school experience? 
  3. What are school and staff perceptions of the successes, improvements, and challenges at subgrantee schools?

Performance data is omitted from this report as standardized testing was not completed in the 2019/20 school year.

This evaluation uses:

  • Demographic data received from the Idaho State Board of Education.
  • Financial data received from Bluum (the non-profit organization that serves as a fiscal agent for the grant).
  • Parent and teacher survey data from the Farkas-Duffett Research (FDR) Group.

Key findings include:

  • Cohort 1 and 2 schools mostly serve similar populations after two years of receiving grant funds.
  • 4,060 seats have been added across all schools.
  • Subgrantee schools have used 57.7% of funds, 39.5% of which have gone to staffing, 22.9% to technology, and 20.5% to furniture and fixtures.
  • On average, subgrantee schools have higher rates of proficiency compared to state averages. •In subgrantee schools, economically disadvantaged students are more likely to have lower rates of proficiency than state averages.
  • Parents and teachers are very satisfied with their schools.

This report provides a baseline evaluation of the first two cohorts of the Communities of Excellence program. $52,051.00 (100%) of this report was funded by Federal CSP Grant dollars; $0.00 (0%) of this event funded by non-governmental sources; total cost $52,051.00.

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