Idaho 2022 Legislative Session Concludes with Mixed Results For Charter Schools

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Blake Youde, Executive Director of Idaho Charter School Network and Todd Ziebarth, Senior Vice President of State Advocacy and Support at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, comment on Idaho’s 2022 legislative session:

“The Idaho Legislature adjourned March 31 yielding mixed results for charter schools in one of the nation's fastest growing states,” says Blake Youde, Executive Director of the Idaho Charter School Network. “Historic increases in professional salaries and benefits are always appreciated, and now charter schools are able to certify their own teachers so they can best meet the needs of their students and their education programs. There was also a major commitment to improving literacy among our youngest students.  However, the Senate's failure to act on a fiscally responsible charter school construction revolving loan fund will stunt the expansion of charters in a state that will need another 100 school buildings in the next eight years.  Additionally, the return to attendance-based funding, rather than enrollment-based, due to the Governor's veto stamp will effectively cut funding to charter school operations and classrooms. That cut impacts nearly 30,000 students.” 

Todd Ziebarth, Senior Vice President of State Advocacy and Support at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, adds:  

“We are pleased to see Idaho making some progress in strengthening its charter school law. The biggest win for charter schools in the 2022 legislative session is the enactment of SB 1291, a bill that eases charter school teacher certification policies in response to unprecedented teacher shortages. This law ensures that charter schools are able to provide undisrupted instruction to students. Students’ education should not be halted because of systemic and societal issues. This bill puts students’ learning first.  

However, we are disappointed that HB 545, a bill to create a Revolving Loan Fund, did not pass this year. HB 545 would have provided additional funding to improve, maintain, and modernize charter school facilities. Healthy, safe, and new school environments are critical for student learning and all students throughout the state should have access to equal environments.  

“We congratulate our partners at Bluum and the Idaho Charter School Network for their ongoing efforts to advocate for high-quality education options for Idaho students and families. We look forward to continuing our work together.”