Building on Success for Future Excellence

Leading the Expansion of High-Quality Charter Schools

On a per pupil basis Idaho’s public charter school sector has been one of the nation’s fastest growing, rapidly diversifying, and highest achieving over the last five years. This growth was stimulated in part by a 2018 $22 million federal CSP grant awarded to the statewide charter school support organization Bluum. Bluum is the lead organization for this Building on Success for Future Excellence CSP grant proposal and will manage this grant.

Idaho’s Building on Success for Future Excellence Federal CSP Program represents $25 million in funds available to help Idaho expand opportunities for students to attend excellent public charter schools that meet and exceed state academic standards. Idaho’s Communities of Excellence project has three objectives:

  • Increase the number of quality Idaho charter school seats by no less than 5,900 students, especially for our most educationally disadvantaged and rural students through start- up, replication, or expansion.
  • Support quality authorizing in Idaho while disseminating and supporting best authorizer practices statewide.
  • Evaluate and disseminate widely the successes and lessons of high-quality charter schools to impact the broader education system.

2024 Request for Applications for Federal CSP Grant Support

Eligible applicants must have an approved charter school petition from an Idaho authorizer in order to apply for Federal CSP dollars under this program. Additionally, schools must meet the federal requirements. Grant applicants must conform to the federal definition of a public charter school in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to be eligible for grant funds under the CSP.

For those approved by an Idaho authorizer, the Building on Success rigorous RFP application and Peer Review process for selecting exemplary applicants for CSP funding will constitute an important first step. The RFP seeks to identify quality eligible applicants that have the capacity to meet the program objective of serving more students, especially disadvantaged and rural students. In order to demonstrate its ability to create a high-quality charter school, the eligible applicant will submit its approved charter petition and any supplemental information necessary to demonstrate completion of the requirements outlined in Bluum’s application process.

The work to grow Idaho’s charter school sector builds on lessons learned from across the country and from Idaho’s 20 years of charter school experience. The seven lessons that we will apply to the design of the Building on Success project include: Idaho Independent Peer Review Panel will assess applications based on the following criteria:

  • committed board of trustees that own the charter school process, demonstrate responsibility for the school’s success or failure, and understand their roles and responsibilities vis-à-vis that of the school management.
  • Quality instructional leader(s) who are either experienced and proven in running a high-performing school and/or has received first-class charter specific training.
  • Demonstrated ability to attract, recruit, retain, and develop top talent.
  • Sustainable business plan that includes appropriate start-up dollars and support.
  • Market Demand and demonstrable need for the school in the selected community.  
  • Innovative and effective learning model(s) that will meet the needs of educationally disadvantaged and/or rural students.
  • Well conceived facility plan. 
    These seven lessons are the components – along with federal requirements for reporting, accounting, and serving students with special needs – that Bluum will ask eligible sub grantees to describe, demonstrate, and commit to in their applications for CSP sub grants.
Petition and Authorizing Information

Public charter schools in Idaho may be authorized by their local school district, the Idaho Public Charter School Commission, or public colleges and universities.
Idaho State Statute 33-5205: Petition to Establish Public Charter School
Tools & Resources from the Idaho Public Charter School Commission
Tools & Resources from the Idaho State Department of Education

To ensure sub grants are awarded to the most capable applicants, each proposal for a CSP sub grant will be reviewed by an external Peer Review panel. The Idaho Independent Peer Review Panel will be comprised of teams of two reviewers, selected through an application process. These reviewers will receive training on the effective use of a Peer Review Rubric to rate potential sub grant proposals. Individuals selected as peer reviewers must be well informed regarding education, education policy, evaluation, and operations of public charter schools.

If you are interested in becoming a peer reviewer, please email grantscsp@bluum.org

Awarded applicants are evaluated on a number of criteria, including instructional leadership, governance, the ability to attract and retain talent, sustainable financial practices, demonstrable market demand, and an innovative and effective educational model.

A total of five sub-grantee schools have been funded so far under the terms of this grant:

  • In June 2024, five schools were awarded subgrants ranging from $200,622 to $2,000,000, creating 1,428 total new seats.
Competition Timeline