Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, said HB 221a, the charter school governance bill, overhauls Idaho’s charter school system in ways negotiated by stakeholders including the Idaho Charter School Network, the Idaho School Boards Association, the State Department of Education and others. “It made great strides in aligning Idaho’s charter school laws to the national model as proposed by the national alliance of public charter schools,” Goedde told the Senate.
Among the changes: “Every five years they have to go back to their authorizers,” Goedde said, to show they’ve met commitments; when first authorized, the term is three years. “It holds both charter schools and their authorizers to measurable academic standards,” Goedde said. The bill also overhauls the membership of Idaho’s charter school commission, and allows public or private colleges or universities to authorize charter schools; currently only the state commission or local school districts can do that.
The most controversial piece of the bill as originally written, letting non-profit 501c3 corporations set up publicly funded charter schools in Idaho, was removed in Senate amendments to the bill.