CDA district rethinks charter relationship

The Coeur d’Alene School District has served as the authorizing entity for the Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy since its inception in 1999.

But the district is rethinking that relationship, the Coeur d’Alene Press reported Saturday.

Coeur d'alene Academy 3
College banners adorn the walls of the Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy, a high-performing high school that opened in 1999.

“Although Charter operates very independently, we essentially subsidize them, and there’s a question of whether that’s in our best interest as a school district,” Superintendent Matt Handelman told the Press.

District officials are concerned with the cost of completing performance reviews for the school every three years — a new charter school law, approved earlier this year, requires a review by July 1. The district also believes it could wind up subsidizing the special education students at the academy, since federal funds do not fully cover special education costs.

Charter Principal Dan Nicklay says the district is not on the hook for the charter’s few special needs students, but he told the Press he understands the district’s decision to rethink their relationship.

When the academy opened in 1999, only school districts could authorize charter schools. Subsequently, the state created a charter school commission that governs most charter schools.

For more about the charter academy’s academic approach and performance, here’s a link to a recent Idaho Education News article.