Idaho Public Charter School Commission holds special meeting

Idaho Charter School Commission members are shown during a meeting in this file photo.

BOISE – The net result of a special meeting held Thursday by the Idaho Public Charter School Commission seemed to be based upon the need to regain confidence in the commission following a breach in Idaho’s Open Meeting Law in April.

An executive session held by the commission was inadvertently recorded and then released to media outlets who made comments from that executive session public.

Some of the comments were negative and adversarial in content towards four current charter schools in Idaho.

There was a public forum portion of Thursday’s meeting that was conducted live via teleconference, that had 18 different persons speak, either in person or via phone. There were also three letters that were submitted to the record, but were not read aloud during the meeting.

Of the 18 speakers, five spoke favorably about the commission and the role it plays in the governing of charter schools in Idaho. Thirteen of the speakers were unfavorable of the role that the commission is currently playing and admonished the commission for “violation of the mission of the commission” and of having a “hit list” of schools on which they would like to revoke charters.

The commission did pass a resolution that they had violated the state’s Open Meeting Law, promising to be more diligent and constructive in their research and releasing of information to the public. That resolution was passed by a unanimous vote of the commission members.

The commission also accepted the request of the state attorney general’s office to accept training from that office on open meeting laws and correct use of executive sessions during commission meetings.

The commission was scheduled to have training on the open meeting laws on Thursday morning as part of the special meeting.

Two of the outspoken persons were representatives of the Jerome Heritage School and Bingham Academy who have been among the schools mentioned by the commission during recent meetings.

It has been reported that roughly 48 percent of the charter schools in Idaho have under-performed when compared to the rest of the schools in the state.