The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation is fully funding all-day kindergarten for more than 1,000 students in 17 schools in the Bluum network of public charter and private schools.
“All-day kindergarten is valuable and necessary for many children and their parents. We are appreciative of the leaders that have prioritized this work and made it happen in their schools,” said the foundation’s executive director Roger Quarles. “By offering all-day kindergarten to families in Idaho, we are able to better prepare our youngest learners with a solid educational foundation that gets them off to a positive start.”
The private family foundation has granted $700 million to Idaho education and community enhancements over the years.
Students in the 17 schools receiving the latest round of funding will be able to attend all-day kindergarten free of charge. It is the second year the foundation has funded the program, which will cost approximately $1.4 million in 2021-22.
Idaho funds only half-day kindergarten. Still, most schools offer all-day kindergarten by supplementing state funding with other money to make up the difference, including grants, federal funds and tuition. Kindergarten is optional in Idaho, where children are not required to attend school until age 7. Idaho lawmakers have regularly voted against funding all-day kindergarten — including this session when House Bill 331 was voted down. The measure would have allocated up to $42.1 million for all-day kindergarten.
The Foundation says it is committed to tracking the academic progress of graduates from the all-day kindergarten programs it is funding.
The schools receiving the grants are from urban and rural areas across Idaho, representing public institutions and private charters. They include:
- Alturas International Academy (Idaho Falls)
- Anser Charter School (Garden City)
- Compass Public Charter School (Meridian)
- Forge International School (Middleton)
- Future Public Charter School (Garden City)
- Gem Prep: Meridian
- Gem Prep: Nampa
- Gem Prep: Meridian North
- Gem Prep: Pocatello
- Idaho Arts Charter School
- MOSAICS Public Charter School (Caldwell)
- North Idaho STEM (Rathdrum)
- Sage International (Boise)
- St. Ignatius (Meridian)
- Treasure Valley Classical Academy (Fruitland)
- Upper Carmen Charter School
- Island Park Charter School
Disclosure: Idaho Education News and Bluum are funded on grant dollars from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation. The foundation has no editorial influence over content produced by Idaho Education News.