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In 2018, the U.S. Department of Education awarded Idaho’s Communities of Excellence (COE) consortium a $17.1 million Charter Schools Program (CSP) grant. The amount of the award increased to $22.5 million in 2019. Grant funds will be distributed over five years with the intent to achieve Idaho’s COE objectives.

The following questions drive Idaho Policy Institute (IPI)’s evaluation of Idaho’s COE:

    1. How are subgrantee schools using funds for school-site implementation?
    2. How do students and parents perceive the quality of schools vis-a-vis their prior school experience?
    3. What are school and staff perceptions of the successes, improvements, and chal¬lenges at subgrantee schools?

Performance data is omitted from this report as standardized testing was not completed in the 2019/20 school year.

This evaluation uses:

      • Demographic data received from the Idaho State Board of Education.
      • Financial data received from Bluum (the non-profit organization that serves as a fiscal agent for the grant).
      • Parent and teacher survey data from the Farkas-Duffett Research (FDR) Group.

Key findings include:

    • All Cohort 1 schools dedicated most year two spending to staffing; however, all schools continue to dedicate money to technology and furniture and fixtures.
    • Despite the precarity of COVID-19, parents are satisfied with their school.
    • Parents plan to continue sending their children to their CSP school.
    • Teachers are satisfied with their school but also feel overwhelmed by their workload.


This report was prepared by Idaho Policy Institute at Boise State University and commissioned by Bluum.