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Idaho Bill Opens Doors for Creating Charter Schools

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A measure giving organizations including Idaho public universities and non-profits power to open charter schools has passed the House. Lengthy debate from both sides of the aisle preceded Wednesday’s 48-19 vote that moves the proposal to the Senate.

The bill governs how outside groups would be supervised if they move to open alternative schools. It also creates contractual benchmarks for charter schools, to demonstrate that they are flourishing and accountable to the state. Proponents argued opening charter schools offers more school choice to Idaho families.

Pingree Republican Rep. Julie VanOrden said charter schools can often serve struggling students better than their public school cousins. Moscow Democrat Rep. Shirley Ringo said the measure could result in waves of new schools — and more hands in the state’s public education funding pot.

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