The House has voted 49-19 in favor of HB 481, Rep. Bob Nonini's bill to lift the cap on the number of new charter schools that can be created each year. The bill would lift both the six-per-year statewide cap, and the one-per-school-district cap. Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, and co-sponsor Rep. Cliff Bayer, R-Boise, said Idaho can't tap into federal and private foundation grant funds because its current caps make the state appear unfriendly to charter school development. “There is a need for more charter schools,” Nonini told the House.
The bill was opposed in committee by the Idaho Education Association, the Idaho School Boards Association and the Idaho Association of School Administrators, who warned that it could have a serious impact on school district funding. Nonini said, “These schools are doing good things for students.” The bill now moves to the Senate side. After the vote, the House recessed until 1:15 p.m., House Democrats announced that they'll head into a closed-door caucus; and Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, announced that the House Ways & Means Committee will meet tomorrow at 8:40 a.m.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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