District 55 denies charter school request

BLACKFOOT — The Blackfoot School Board of Trustees denied the charter request for the Idaho STEM Academy at their meeting Thursday and referred the decision to the Idaho Public Charter School Commission. The decision was unanimous.
Mark Fisk, a member of the founding board of the Idaho STEM Academy, said the decision was not unexpected.
"We'll move forward," he said. "We're confident we will be chartered."
Whether the charter high school, which will cater to science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, will be able to open next year is unclear.
Brian Thelin, chairman of the board for the Idaho STEM Academy, said they had hoped to work with the Blackfoot School District.
In addressing the board, Superintendent Scott Crane said there is a lot of work that needs to be done between the school district and the charter board before the charter could be approved. He recommended the board deny the charter.
"I don't think the board should take on this responsibility at this time," Crane said.
Without discussion, the board unanimously denied the request.
Also at the meeting the board received and approved the audit report for the 2010-2011 fiscal. Reports were given on the district's energy conservation program and the dual credit program at Blackfoot High School.
J.D. Tolman, a former board member and current Region 6 Idaho School Boards Association vice chairman, provided information on 16 ISBA resolutions that will be voted on at the organization's annual convention in November.