Boise charter school to move locations after facilities debt default

Boise’s Village Leadership Academy will downsize to a smaller facility this year after defaulting on its building loan. The move is the final step in a multi-year plan to get the school’s finances back on track.

In 2019, a third-party report uncovered financial malpractice within the Boise charter, putting the school at risk of closure. But over the past three years, the school has operated on a balanced budget and improved most of its financial outcomes, according to a report given to the Idaho Public Charter School Commission Thursday.

But the school’s current building, located on Fairmeadow Dr. in Boise, is too large and too expensive for the charter to maintain, according to the report. The building was purchased in 2017, in hopes that the school’s student body population would grow to fill the space and pay off the facilities loan. But since 2019, the student population dropped by more than half.

In May, the charter board decided to exit its current loan — an option outlined in a December forbearance agreement between the VLA and its bank — and seek a smaller, more affordable building. The new facility is located on Goldstone Dr. in Meridian. The move could result in a boundaries shift for the school.

“While the building will have some drawbacks, it will continue to allow VLA to be a safe, small, village oriented, Leader in Me school for our Kindergarten through 8th grade students,” wrote school administrator Josh Noteboom in a May email to parents. “We are excited to be working towards the end of our facility challenges, and set the school up for success in the future.”

According to Thursday’s report, the decision ensures “an affordable location for the next 6 years.”

The VLA’s relocation fulfills the first of four renewal conditions set out by the Charter Commission in February.The first condition required the VLA to take action on its financial default by July 1.

The Commission took no action against the school at Thursday’s meeting — a good sign for the Boise charter.

But with the move comes another shift: Noteboom accepted a position as federal programs director with the State Department of Education, which he’ll begin in July. The current administrator said the transition was unexpected, but he’s honored to be selected.

“I have full confidence in the VLA community to select a new leader to continue the momentum and success we have achieved thus far,” Noteboom wrote in an email to EdNews. “I’ve committed to completing the transition to the new facility over the summer and onboarding new leadership.  We have achieved a great milestone with the resolution of the facility issues and VLA is set to continue to thrive.”

Sadie Dittenber

Sadie Dittenber

Reporter Sadie Dittenber focuses on K-12 policy and politics. She is a College of Idaho graduate, born and raised in the Treasure Valley. You can follow Sadie on Twitter @sadiedittenber and send her news tips at [email protected].

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