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Idaho Charters Receive Facilities Funding from State

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Charter schools in Idaho will be receiving a boost starting next fall when the state will direct about $1.4 million to help fund facilities and maintenance costs, thanks to a new bill passed by lawmakers in the state.

The amount of money will grow to $2.1 million the second year, an article in The Idaho State Journal says. It is estimated that each charter school will receive approximately $34,000 in the first year the law goes into effect.

A similar debate was sparked in Florida's House Choice and Innovation in Education subcommittee last week, although a bill to set aside funding for charter school facilities does not seem likely to pass there this year.

Unlike regular public schools, charter schools cannot ask voters to approve bond levies to offset expenses or construct or remodel new facilities, says the article. In fact, providing funding for facilities for charter schools has long been a point of contention for charter school advocates, who say that the lack of funding available for facilities makes it increasingly difficult for such schools to open and operate.

Only a small portion of states with charter schools have passed laws to dedicate facilities funding for charter schools, according to a brief published in December 2011 from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Other methods of funding include tax-exempt bonds, federal programs, local district bond revenue, the sharing of district facilities with regular districts, or operating funds from per-pupil allocation, the brief found.

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