Empowering Parents Panel meets to work out what grants can and can’t fund

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 12:50 PM MDT
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BOISE, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —The empowering parents panel met this week to work out some of the issues with the Idaho State Board of Education program.

During the three-hour discussion ... The 6 members present of the 7-member panel. Split the vote about home schooling parents using the money for education co-ops, or groups of families that support each other.

They also voted to approve purchases that would cover computer cases, school supplies, uniforms and certain athletic fees.

They also want improved communication with the program’s vendor which is Odyssey. The biggest discussion came about when the panel talked about allowing the grants to be used for private school tuition. Which could turn the grants into a voucher type program for some families.

“Public schools in Idaho are so important. Enriching a child’s educational experience is one thing but using public dollars for private institutions is just a very slippery slope whether you call it tuition or fees.”

Another panel member pointed out that the money is not public dollars but taxpayer funds and should be used by parents in the way they see fit.

“This money is my money, it’s your money, it’s my neighbor’s money, it’s the taxpayer dollars. So, we’re taking their money, and we need to give parents the choice to choose what they feel is the best education option for their child.”

The panel voted against the idea of expanding the program 4 to 2 with one absence. Empowering parents provides grants of one thousand dollars per student or three thousand per household.