Innovation schools grant applications trickle in

Idaho’s innovation schools application process is off to a slow start.

The State Board of Education has received four applications for the $10,000 grants — and under a new state law, the board has room for six more grant applications.

But it’s unclear if other applications are in the pipeline. “I haven’t heard of any others,” State Board spokesman Blake Youde said Thursday.

Under the innovation school law, passed by the 2016 Legislature, grant recipients receive more than money from the state. The innovation schools receive waivers “from (state) laws and policies that impede local autonomy,” according to the legislation. Opponents of the law have questioned the need for this loophole.

The grant applications opened Friday, and the State Board promptly received four applications the first day: two from the Nampa School District and one each from schools in Clark Fork and West Side. No applications have come in since Friday.

State Board staffers are looking over the four applications to make sure they comply with the innovative schools law. Staffers will not critique the merits of the innovation proposals, Youde said.

If the schools’ applications comply with the innovation law, the State Department of Education will release the grant money.

More reading: Click here to find out more about one innovation school applicant in Nampa.