Six Idaho charters receive over $5 million in grants

Six charters across Idaho won a collective $5 million this week, from a pot of federal funds earmarked for expanding charter school offerings in Idaho.

The grants, awarded by a “Communities of Excellence” consortium led by charter group Bluum, were funded by $22 million in federal money the U.S. Department of Education gave Bluum to support charter growth in Idaho.

Fall 2019 grantees include:

This week’s grant recipients are the second group of charters to receive funds from the consortium. In May, five charters won $800,000 from that pool of federal funds.

The Communities of Excellence consortium, which evaluates grant applicants, is comprised of public and philanthropic education groups including the Idaho Public Charter School Commission, State Board of Education, and the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation.

That group has pledged to add some 8,000 new charter school seats to Idaho in the next five years, “for Idaho’s most educationally disadvantaged and rural students,” according to the Bluum website.

According to a news release, the group evaluated grant applicants according to criteria like:

  • Instructional leadership
  • Governance
  • The ability to attract and retain talent
  • Sustainable financial practices
  • Demonstrable market demand
  • Innovative and effective education models

EdNews previously reported that the consortium won $17.1 million in federal funds to support Idaho charters. This summer, the U.S.  Department of Education offered another $5 million in grants, Bluum CEO Terry Ryan said, boosting the total grant pool to $22 million.

The consortium used some of that extra money to give bonus-grant money to the first cohort of awardees. Forge International School in Meridian, Future Public School in Garden City, and Gem Prep: Meridian all won an extra $450,000, bumping their grant total up to $1,250,000.

To date, the Consortium has given out just over $10 million in funds. Ryan anticipates the group will award funds to more charters in at least two more grant cycles.

To read more about the application process, click here.

Disclosure: Bluum and Idaho Education News are both funded with grant money from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation. EdNews maintains independent control over editorial content. 

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