July Update



Coalition Newsletter–July 31, 2015

The Coalition of Idaho Charter School Families sent 7 Idahoans who care about more school choice to Washington, D.C. to learn more about how to expand school choice! See the news release below.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Coalition of Idaho Charter School Families



Boise Idaho 7/23/15

Idaho Parents for School Choice Attend Conference in Virginia and Rally at the US Capitol

Idaho sent 7 representatives to a National Public Schools Options Conference in Alexandria, Virginia and Washington DC. All seven are advocates for more charter schools and more school choice.  Attending were Heather Dunham, Ken O’Donnell, Lisa Frane, Michelle Dunstan, Stephanie Camarillo, Stephanie Rose and Tom LeClaire. They are seeking greater powers for parents to choose their children's schools. 

Stephanie urged Idaho's elected officials "to support legislation that allows parents freedom to choose the school that fits their unique child's needs.  Each child, each family and each situation is different.  Families often feel trapped when a particular school is not working for their child.  We need to increase, and support, multiple school options so that a great education is accessible to all students."

Tom LeClaire, of Meridian, thought the trip was very valuable and said, "Our visits with Idaho congressional staffers were very productive.  I believe that the entire Idaho Congressional Delegation agrees with the Idaho Coalition for Public Charter Families that education policy authority should be returned to the States, that federal funds should follow the student if the student's parents choose to move to another school, that individual student achievement and growth (not averaged test scores) should be the measure identifying successful schools, and that the U. S. Department of Education should better inform parents of school choices available to them."

The 2 day event included a rally at the Capitol on Tuesday. 


See pictures below for more! If you are interested in Boot Camp 2016, email Jane at:







Idaho is celebrating National School Choice Week 2016 in Boise on Wednesday, January 27, 2016. Mark your calendars and plan to attend the rally at the Capitol steps at noon. Want to get involved or need more information?

K12 Inc. released a new report showing that Minnesota Virtual Academy (MNVA) raised its academic outcomes in Reading and Mathematics through a combination of new teacher initiatives and improved academic and school community programs.  A summary can be read here and the full report can be downloaded here.

State test data from the past two school years shows MNVA:

·       Improved outcomes in both Reading and Mathematics in grades 3-8.

·       Increased overall proficiency in Mathematics

·       Increased proficiency in Reading in all grades with an overall increase of 12 percentage points, and met its school-wide goal set by the MN Department of Education.

K12 has been partnering with MNVA for 13 years.  The report highlights how the school has responded to rapid school growth by strategically implementing programs focused on improving student outcomes and addressing the needs of every student.

This report is the sixth in a series of white papers on academics and instruction published by K12.  A full archive of the white papers, along with K12's annual academic report, can be found here.  Please feel free to distribute the report(s).



Nominate A Teacher Today!

Idaho's Teacher of the Year program was founded in 1959 and works to highlight the great work being done by Idaho's excellent educators. Applications are now being accepted for the 2016 Teacher of the Year Award.

We know that exceptional teachers are making a real impact for your school's students. Take a moment to nominate an outstanding teacher at your school today for the 2016 Teacher of the Year award. The deadline to apply is August 20th.



Idaho Teacher of the Year

The Idaho Teacher of the Year Program, which began in 1959, is one of the most prestigious honors in the state for teachers. The program focuses public attention on excellence in teaching that has a real impact on the students of Idaho.

The Idaho Teacher of the Year is chosen from among the districts' nominees by a selection committee representing the state education leaders and lawmakers. Each school district and charter school may nominate one teacher. School districts should submit the nominations to the State Department of Education before the end of the school year.

The Idaho Teacher of the Year also becomes a nominee for the National Teacher of the Year, a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers that is sponsored by Scholastic Inc.

2015 Idaho Teacher of the Year: Kim Zeydel



Idaho's 2015 Teacher of the Year, Kim Zeydel, has been an educator for more than two decades, starting her career in California working with at-risk students. Today, she's a math teacher at West Ada's Meridian Academy High School. Mrs. Zeydel is a firm believer in service-oriented activities and started an Honor Society at Meridian Academy where students work with community members suffering from dementia or Alzheimer disease. Kim says she believes teaching is an art form that must be perfected on a daily basis by putting in the time and effort to constantly research and learn new teaching strategies.

Kim has received numerous awards in her years as a teacher including Meridian Academy Teacher of the Year (2008 and 2014), Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (2009), and Idaho State Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Finalist (2007 and 2009).

As Idaho's Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Zeydel will:

·         Receive $1,000 from the State

·         She will travel across Idaho talking with other teachers, legislators and policymakers about education in our state

·         She will travel to Washington, DC in the spring to meet Teachers of the Year from other states and the President of the United States

·         She will serve as Idaho's nominee for National Teacher of the Year

Congratulations Kim Zeydel!

E-mail: fcleveland@sde.idaho.gov

Past Winners

·         2014 - Jamie Esler, Lake City High School, Coeur d'Alene

·         2013 - Katie Pemberton, Canfield Middle School, Coeur d'Alene

·         2012 - Erin Lenz, Winton Elementary School, Coeur d'Alene

·         2011 - Stefani Cook, Rigby High School, Rigby

·         2010 - Kelli Smith, Sacajawea Junior High School, Lewiston

·         2009 - Robin Sly, Trail Wind Elementary School, Boise

·         2008 - Carol Scholz, Idaho Arts Charter School, Nampa

·         2007 - Mike Clabby, Lake City High School, Coeur d'Alene

·         2006 - Mr. John "Mick" Sharkey, Parma High School, Parma

·         2005 - Mrs. Paula Conley, Canfield Middle School, Coeur d' Alene

·         2004 - Mrs. Tina Roehr, Meridian Academy, Meridian

·         2003 - Mrs. Patti Perry, Skyway Elementary School, Coeur d' Alene


Other news!


Private school choice luncheon!


Register at Eventbrite to join us for lunch on August 11 in Boise. Michael Bindas of the Institute for Justice will discuss how Idaho's Blaine Amendment (Article 9, Section 5 of the Idaho Constitution) inhibits school choice, and what we can do to FIX IT.  Come early for a tour of the amazing City Light Home for Women and Children and/or stay late to keep the conversation going. Hope to see you there!

Best wishes,

Briana LeClaire

Executive Director



The Rest of the Story

Submitted by Jeff Kwitowski on Fri, 07/31/2015 - 10:52am


The New York Observer recently published a piece about K12 and the education organization,Foundation for Excellence in Education.  The author, Ari Rabin Havt, a senior fellow with Media Matters and co-author of a book charging that Fox News is a “propaganda machine,” is not what you would consider an impartial observer.

Nevertheless, prior to publication, I sent him detailed responses to questions about K12 with the outside hope that he would tell it straight.  He did not.  Instead, he drove his agenda; resurfacing old claims but leaving on the cutting room floor the key facts and information that did not fit his narrative. 

Let me fill in what he left out:

On Florida:  An IG report concluded that a claim made about K12 teachers was unfounded; teachers were state-certified.  Other school districts found K12 was in full compliance. K12 is a state-approved online learning provider in Florida and serves over 50 school districts in the state.

On teacher grading:  The author seemed fixated on substantiating a “grade fixing” story in Tennessee that was completely debunked by the school’s teachers.  Just because the local news station that originally broadcast the report would not correct the story on its website – what a surprise! – doesn’t change the fact that it was a manufactured and bogus story.  

On NCAA:  NCAA has its own standards for nontraditional courses. However, these standards are not based on outputs (course completion, grades, end of course exams, course content, or other measures of competency), but rather on inputs – i.e. the way in which an online course is delivered.  Digital Learning experts have criticized this approach.  K12 is nationally accredited by AdvanceED. Its partner schools are state-approved and accredited, and offer courses that are universally accepted by colleges and universities including top Ivy League schools.

On Academics:  The author relies heavily on an old report from National Education Policy Center (NEPC), an organization that collaborates with the powerful teachers unions and is hostile to charter schools.  This report has been criticized for using deeply flawed data. I sent him the most complete and accurate collection of data on performance of K12 partner schools, but he must have never looked at it or simply dismissed altogether.  But it’s all there.  You can find K12’s annual Academic Reports on our website along with other reports and white papers that show academic trends are improving at K12-partner schools -- better overall outcomes, improved student proficiency rates over time, success in closing achievement gaps, etc.  Take a look for yourself here

More work needs to be done, and we are intensely focused on boosting outcomes.  As K12’s Chairman and CEO Nate Davis has repeatedly said, K12 is putting students first;  investing in new academic programs and improved instruction with a goal to raise achievement for all the students and schools we serve.

Though the author uses a lot of words to go after K12, his main target appears to be the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) -- they set the record straight about the Foundation here. K12 supports many charitable and nonprofit educational organizations, for their benefit, not ours. The writer takes aim at FEE because it advocates for education reform policies he doesn’t agree with, namely charter schools and parent choice in education.  Yet expanding educational options benefits children, not donors.  Parents – heck, all voters – believe that children should have more choices in education and not be restricted to schools based solely on zip code.  But this is one fact, among others, that ideologues often find too inconvenient to share.

Like the great Paul Harvey would say, “And now you know – the rest of the story




Legislative Wrap Up


The Coalition of Idaho Charter School Families worked hard during the 2015 Idaho Legislative Session. Your Board was active on Legislation –particularly H126 a bill that

would have allowed school districts and public charter schools to receive salary-based apportionment based on the better of their midterm or full-term support unit numbers. This means that if your student enrolled in a school at the beginning of the academic year and later left that school for another school, the receiving school would receive funding to hire more teachers and otherwise staff up to meet the increase.


Currently, all salary-based apportionment funds are based solely on midterm support units. This would enable the minority of schools that experience enrollment growth as the school year progresses to receive full funding for these students. FISCAL NOTE Fiscal impact of approximately $1.7 million


The Coalition brought in several parents, students, school administrators to testify at the House and Senate hearings making it possible for the bill to pass. Unfortunately, the Governor vetoed the bill.  Although there was speculation that the reason the Governor vetoed the bill was political not policy driven, the effect was that the bill failed.


The Coalition will be active in a Working Group this summer to see if the bill or a similar bill can be written for introduction in the 2016 Session.





Full Bill Information


Individual Links:

      Bill Text

      Statement of Purpose / Fiscal Note

      Legislative Co-sponsors


H0126                   by EDUCATION COMMITTEE


PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPPORT PROGRAM - Amends existing law to provide when a certain number of support units shall be used to calculate discretionary funding.


                02/12     Introduced, read first time, referred to JRA for Printing

                02/13     Reported Printed and Referred to Education     

                02/25     Reported out of Committee with Do Pass Recommendation, Filed for Second Reading  

                02/26     Read second time; Filed for Third Reading           

                02/27     U.C. to hold place on third reading calendar until Monday, March 2, 2015             

                03/02     Read Third Time in Full - PASSED - 51-19-0

AYES -- Anderst, Andrus, Barbieri, Bateman, Batt, Beyeler, Boyle, Burtenshaw, Chaney, Cheatham, Clow, Collins, Crane, Dayley, DeMordaunt, Dixon, Gestrin, Harris, Hartgen, Hixon, Holtzclaw, Jordan, Kerby, Kloc, Loertscher, Luker, Malek, McDonald, McMillan, Mendive, Monks, Nate, Nielsen, Nye, Packer, Palmer, Pence, Perry, Redman, Rubel, Rudolph, Scott, Shepherd, Sims, Thompson, Troy, Trujillo, VanOrden, Vander Woude, Wills, Youngblood

NAYS -- Anderson, Bell, Chew, Erpelding, Gannon, Gibbs, Horman, Kauffman, King, McCrostie, Miller, Moyle, Raybould, Romrell, Rusche, Smith, Wintrow, Wood, Mr. Speaker

Absent and excused -- None

Floor Sponsor - Boyle

Title apvd - to Senate    

                03/03     Received from the House passed; filed for first reading

                                Introduced, read first time; referred to: Education          

                03/12     Reported out of Committee with Do Pass Recommendation; Filed for second reading   

                03/13     Read second time; filed for Third Reading            

                03/18     Read third time in full - PASSED - 32-3-0

AYES -- Bair, Bayer, Brackett, Buckner-Webb, Burgoyne, Davis, Den Hartog, Guthrie, Hagedorn, Heider, Johnson, Jordan, Keough, Lacey, Lakey, Lee, Lodge, Martin, McKenzie, Mortimer, Nonini, Nuxoll, Patrick, Rice, Siddoway, Souza, Stennett, Thayn, Tippets, Vick, Ward-Engelking, Winder

NAYS -- Cameron, Hill, Schmidt

Absent and excused -- None

Floor Sponsors - Patrick & Bayer

Title apvd - to House     

                03/19     Returned from Senate Passed; to JRA for Enrolling          

                03/20     Reported Enrolled; Signed by Speaker; Transmitted to Senate   

                03/23     Received from the House enrolled/signed by Speaker  

                                Signed by President; returned to House               

                03/24     Returned Signed by the President; Ordered Transmitted to Governor   

                03/25     Delivered to Governor at 10:15 a.m. on March 24, 2015 

                04/02     Returned from Governor - vetoed on March 30, 2015    

                                Held at Desk


End of the Legislative Session Legislative Update


2015 Legislative Overview: Education


Much of Idaho’s 2015 legislative session centered around education issues. The following information was compiled by the Idaho Charter School Network and their summary is listed below.


Legislation Specific to Charter Schools

H. 309 – Public Charter School Debt Reserve – Creates a public charter school debt reserve fund, effective July 1, 2016.

S. 1087 – Charter School Admissions – Allows charter schools to offer lottery preference to students from another charter school, pursuant to bilateral contract between schools.

S. 1021 – Authorizer Fee – Revises language relating to how the charter school authorizer fee is calculated. Changes authorizer fee payment deadline to March 15th.

H. 308 – Career Ladder Trailer Bill – Ensures that, just as the existing administrative and instructional staff allowance requirements not apply to charter schools, the newly created pupil service staff requirements do not apply to charter schools.

Legislation Pertaining Broadly to Education, Including Charter Schools

S. 1050 – “8 in 6” and Mastery Advancement  – Makes technical corrections and clarifications to the “8 in 6” and mastery advancement program, and provides more money for students to pursue dual credits.

S. 1086 – Professional Technical Education – To improve online professional-technical education and align secondary and post-secondary professional-technical courses.

H. 122 – School District Strategic Plans – Attempts to clarify requirements for school district and charter school strategic plans, now called annual continuous improvement plans. Additional appropriations were approved for training purposes for district superintendents and boards of trustees, public charter school administrators and boards of directors.

H. 313 – School Counselors  – Creates a new code section allowing school districts and charter schools to employ non-certificated staff to serve as academic and college or career counselors and mentors, and providing a funding formula.

H. 302 – STEM Center – Creates a STEM action center and board within the Executive branch to align educational opportunities with industry needs in the area of STEM.

H. 296 – Career Ladder – Raising teacher salaries for those meeting certain criteria.

H. 110 – Mastery-Based Education – Authorizes the State Department of Education to promote interest in mastery-based education and establish initial incubator program and study.

H. 314 – ESEA Waiver – Replaces the expiring ESEA waiver with an updated waiver to increase state flexibility.

H. 246 – Anti-Bullying – Requires schools to provide ongoing professional development, which includes how to address bullying.

S. 1071 – Civics Test – Requires all secondary students (including charter school students) to show they’ve met some sort of civics standards. This can be either successful completion of a civics test, or some “alternative path established by the…charter school”. Successful completion should be noted on the student transcript.

H. 245 – Foreign Exchange Students –Allows foreign exchange students to enroll in post-secondary courses.

Legislation Pertaining to K-12 Education, but Not to Charter Schools

S. 1072 – School District Trustees – Requires candidates in school board trustee elections file campaign finance reports to increase transparency. Not applicable to school districts smaller than 500 students and charter schools.

H. 76 – Tax Levies – Taxes for school emergency fund levy.

H. 300 – Alternative School – Amends support units calculation to include grades 6-12.

S. 1120 – Drivers Education – Requires that a portion of drivers education fees be paid to the Bureau of Occupational Licenses.


The following bills encompassed the K-12 appropriations for FY2016, including $4,200,000 for charter school facilities, and $23,868 per support unit funding (a 6.5% increase over FY15):

S. 1183;  S. 1184;  S. 1185;  S. 1186;  S. 1187;  S. 1189

Other K-12 appropriations bills include:

S. 1116 – Childrens Programs – FY 15 supplemental appropriation to accept federal funds for public schools.

H. 168 – Idaho Education Network – FY 15 supplemental appropriation for IEN to the Superintendent of Public Instruction to pay for broadband at public schools.

H. 263 – H. 168 Trailer Bill  Amends H. 168 regarding IEN

H. 305 – Board of Education Appropriation  Includes funding for 1.5 FTE and $129,400 for the Charter School Commission

H. 289 – Superintendent of Public Instruction – Supplemental appropriations for public education (including funding from GEAR UP Grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation)

H. 290 – Special Programs Board of Ed special programs appropriations (includes GEAR UP federal funds)

S. 1151 – Professional-Technical Appropriations

H. 326 – STEM Center Appropriations


S. 1097 – Pupil Transportation Audits  Repealed.

H. 22 – School Trustee Terms  Repealed.

H. 169 and S. 1088 – Repeals sunsets, allow one-year contracts for salaries, benefits and anything that imposes cost to a school district budget, and allows for two-year contracts for other things, and imposes date requirements .

H. 323 – Renewable Contacts – Technical corrections to comport with career ladder provisions and S. 1088 that provides that certain staff may not be placed on a renewable contract.

H. 190 – Background Check – Shifting the cost for criminal background check fees to the general fund via ongoing appropriation.

H. 220 – Income Tax Credits – Removes sunset on increased tax credit for donations to certain charities, including charter schools.

H 170 – Pay For Success Contracts – Allows the State Department of Education to enter into pay for success contracts and provides framework.