Idaho Falls charter plans expansion

IDAHO FALLS — An Idaho Falls charter school plans to open a high school in 2021.

Alturas International Academy, a K-8 public charter of some 550 students, has asked the Idaho Public Charter School Commission to authorize Alturas Preparatory Academy, according to a news release from the school Friday.

If approved, the new high school will exist somewhere in Idaho Falls and eventually serve some 500 middle and high school students in the Idaho Falls, Bonneville and Shelley school districts, Alturas Academy founder and executive director Michelle Ball told EdNews Monday.

“This is really exciting for us,” said Ball, who plans to work as head administrator at both schools.

The new school would absorb Alturas Academy’s sixth- through eighth-graders and enroll its first batch of high school freshmen and sophomores in 2021-22, Ball said. Juniors and seniors would be able to enroll, respectively, over the next two years. Eventually, the school will house 96 students per grade.

While the schools will operate under separate charters, Ball described the effort as an extension of Alturas Academy. Both schools will follow International Baccalaureate learning models and likely hire leaders from within. Alturas Academy Principal Bryan Bingham will be the new school’s principal. An Alturas teacher finishing his administration degree will likely replace Bingham.

Building Hope, a nonprofit organization that helps charters receive loans for facilities, is helping Alturas secure a location for the new school. The Washington, D.C.-based charter support group helped Alturas secure its current location in a historic downtown building in 2016.

Ball said the charter commission, which oversees three-fourths of Idaho’s 68 public charters, will work with the school on possible “revisions” to the petition over the summer and consider its approval on Aug. 13.

Devin Bodkin

Devin Bodkin

Devin was formerly a senior reporter and editor for Idaho Education News and now works for INL in communications.

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