IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Three eastern Idaho schools are among 17 in Idaho that will share a $1.5 million grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation.
Island Park Charter School, Alturas International Academy in Idaho Falls, and Gem Prep in Pocatello will use the funds to provide all-day kindergarten in the 2020-21 school year at no cost to families.
The three schools will be part of a "conversation" initiated by Governor Brad Little, who has emphasized the need for early literacy programs in the state. They will help provide data on the effectiveness of all-day kindergarten programs.
Island Park Charter School Executive Director Connie Day noted that in many schools and districts, all-day kindergarten is only an option if parents pay tuition for the second half of the day. "I believe that Idaho's 'pay to play' system creates an unnecessary gap between affluent families, who can afford to pay tuition, and lower income families, whose children also deserve the best educational opportunities," she said. "I hope that the data from these schools will lead to better funding for early childhood education in all of Idaho's schools."