Charter Advocates Look For Higher Caps to Accommodate 8,000 More Students

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Facing what they say is an unprecedented growth in charter schools and with approximately 8,000 students on charter-school waiting lists, parents and administrators will be taking their pro-charter advocacy to the steps of the Idaho Capitol today.

Quite simply, they say, they need the cap on new charter schools lifted.

"The caps have varied over the years,” Leslie Mauldin, president of the Coalition of Idaho Charter School Families, told Citydesk. “We started with 12 schools, and then in 2004, the legislation was changed, which brought it down to six schools.”

But Mauldin confirmed that the growing number of Idaho charter schools has also brought misunderstandings.

“As the schools have aged, many of the misconceptions have aged,” Mauldin stated. “Twelve years of research shows us the population doesn’t always reflect the school districts.”

Supporters argue charter schools are a tuition-free source that provides excellent results, allows for different teaching methods, and creates an innovative learning environment.

“There are 8,000 kids currently on waiting lists to get into these schools,” Mauldin explained. “Kids are chosen to attend through a random lottery, required by the government."

Today's rally attendees will have some heavy-hitter advocates, including Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and Lt. Gov. Brad Little.

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