A popular charter school in Rathdrum has been approved to expand from its current K-8 focus into high school grades – over the objections of the local school district, which says the move will siphon away money that now provides more course choices for students in its regular high schools. Lakeland School District officials have high praise for the North Idaho STEM Charter Academy, which focuses on science and math and uses an innovative project-based learning approach. But they say under Idaho’s school-funding system, expanding the charter means cutting funding for Lakeland and Timberlake high schools. “There’s very little recognition of the impact it has on districts when they lose students,” said Tom Taggart, director of business and operations for the Lakeland district. “We actually took that hit last year when they opened and we lost about 130 students to the school. That’s a big hit financially”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here. (Kathy Plonka SR photo: North Idaho STEM Charter Academy fifth-grader Allison Russum watches her robot maneuver through the course during class in Rathdrum on Tuesday)
Question: Should Idaho conduct a study re: the financial impact of charter schools on public schools?