New report compares state charter facilities laws

Idaho provides charter schools about $395 per student to offset building costs — but other states do more, according to a national report released Monday.

According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, 31 states have passed laws to help finance charter schools.

“States play an important role in determining the options available to help fund charter school facilities,” the report said. “Increasingly, states are enacting and updating state policies to help offset the cost of leasing, purchasing and maintaining charter school facilities.”

Idaho’s centerpiece law, passed in 2013, provides charters with a stipend, tied to the amount of money traditional schools spend on facilities. Lawmakers have earmarked more than $40 million for the growing stipend program, including $8.8 million this year.

Idaho’s stipends came to about $395 per pupil in 2017-18, according to Monday’s report. Meanwhile, the District of Columbia is providing $3,263 per student in charter facilities aid, while Arizona provides $1,807 per kindergarten through eighth-grade charter student, and $2,106 per high school charter student.

The report outlines several facilities programs offered in other states, but not in Idaho. That includes providing access to property taxes or setting up a charter facilities grant program.

The report does not mention one law Idaho legislators passed this winter: a budget reserve account designed to slice interest rates on charter faciilities. The new law created the reserve account program, but did not earmark any state dollars.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday