For the past few years, Idaho senators have stood in the way of removing a statewide cap on the number of charter schools created each year.
It looks like that barrier has been partially broken, but one more test remains to eliminate the cap.
The Senate Education Committee approved a bill Monday that would not only remove the statewide cap, but would also strike out rules that prevent more than one charter school per district from being created annually.
The committee passed the bill on a 5-4 vote, but it now faces a tough Senate floor vote.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Post Falls, says having a cap in place hurts Idaho’s standing with foundations that could provide private education grants.
Critics of the bill, including the Idaho Education Association, worry cap removal will produce too many schools, draining funding from local districts. They also contend the state may not have enough oversight of existing schools, leading to financial lapses.