Charter expansion concerns N. Idaho district

A North Idaho charter school’s aggressive expansion plan has a local school district concerned.

The North Idaho STEM Charter Academy has the go-ahead from the state’s Public Charter School Commission to add high school grades. The K-8 school now has 312 students; with the expansion, enrollment could grow to 724 students within nine years.

And for the nearby Lakeland School District, that’s the rub.

District officials praise the academy’s academic performance. But they fear that as students leave traditional high schools for the charter school, state dollars will follow them.

“There’s very little recognition of the impact it has on districts when they lose students,” Tom Taggart, director of business and operations for the Lakeland district, told the Spokane Spokesman-Review’s Betsy Russell. “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.”

Here’s a link to Russell’s story.