Charter commission approves expansions

The Idaho Public Charter School Commission has approved plans from three charter school groups, which could provide 990 new charter school seats in the next several years.

About 11,400 students are on waiting lists to attend an Idaho charter school, according to the State Department of Education.

The commission approved the North Idaho STEM Academy‘s plan to expand its K-8 program into high school grades. The Rathdrum-based academy enrolls 312 students; under this agreement, it will grow to 724 students over the next nine years.

“This is something our parents really wanted and have been asking for since we opened in 2012,” said Colleen Thomson, the academy’s co-founder and director of instruction.

Terry Ryan
Terry Ryan, president of the Idaho Charter School Network

The commission approved the expansion because of the academy’s academic success, quality governance and administration, strong community support, and responsible fiscal performance, said Terry Ryan, president of the Idaho Charter School Network.

Sage International School, an International Baccalaureate school in downtown Boise, has approval to expand student enrollment from 712 students to 1,200. SAGE recently was awarded a $350,000 J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation grant to grow its K-12 school model.

“Our wait list has made it very clear to us that we had to figure out ways to serve more students and families,” said board chair Suzanne Metzgar. “We are excited that the commission supports our efforts to expand our quality program for more kids.”

The commission also expanded the Syringa Mountain charter school’s enrollment cap by more than 90 students. Syringa Mountain will open in Blaine County in 2014-15 as a K-5 school.

Disclaimer: Idaho Education News is funded by a grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation.