Community Blog: The EDge

Closing a charter school: a boon, or a burden, for Meridian schools? (UPDATED)

(UPDATED, 10:24 a.m. Tuesday, to reflect new information from the state Department of Education.)

If North Star Charter School closes in 2013-14, what becomes of the Eagle school’s 900 students — and the state dollars earmarked to educate them?

The answer, as with many matters of public school funding, isn’t as simple as it originally appears.

According to the state Department of Education, the money will be prorated. If the Meridian School Board revokes North Star’s charter, and the district absorbs the school’s students in the middle of the school year, the district would get per-pupil funding on a prorated basis.

Here’s a link to the section of state law on charter school closures.

Last week, Boise State Public Radio’s Adam Cotterell said closing North Star could be a boon for the Meridian School District. Or a burden, depending on timing. He said Meridian could get a larger share of the $4 million earmarked for North Star if the district revoked the charter by Nov. 1 — the day the state sends out its largest attendance-based payments to the schools.

In June, the Meridian district took the first steps to revoke North Star’s charter, saying the 10-year-old school had not come up with a long-term plan to restructure its debt. That begins a potentially time-consuming process.

The charter revocation is subject to a public hearing at the district level. If the School Board ultimately decides to revoke the charter, North Star can appeal to the State Board of Education.

 

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger at Idaho Education News (idahoednews.org). Kevin is a former Statesman editorial page editor, with 27 year's experience in Idaho journalism.

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