The Idaho House is expected to vote early next week on legislation allowing formation of charter public schools, a concept that has been around the Legislature for the last eight years.
The bill received widespread support from education groups Tuesday and was endorsed by the Education Committee.
It would allow groups or individuals to apply to local school boards for charters, freed from many of the restrictions that now apply to public schools. However, all teachers must be certified.
Only Rep. Steve Hadley, R-Chubbuck, voted against sending the legislation to the full House.
Education Chairman Fred Tilman of Boise said the bill would allow up to 12 charter schools to be established in each of the next five years. If it becomes law, the legislation must be reauthorized by the Legislature after five years.
In an unusual alliance, both the Idaho Education Association and the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry endorsed the bill. Parent-Teacher Association and school administrators opposed it with concerns that the new concept might take away funding for the public school system.
Senate Education Chairman Gary Schroder of Moscow supported the bill. He and Tilman led a study committee that conducted seven meetings around the state before preparing this year’s bill.