State: Idaho

Idaho State Guide

Choosing a school? You’ve got options.

If you live in Idaho, you have access to more K-12 education options for your child than you might realize. Navigating these options can help you find a school where your child thrives, but it can also feel overwhelming at first. This post will breakdown the main types of schools available to you and provide some extra resources too! 

In short, you can choose from traditional public schoolspublic charter schoolspublic magnet schoolsprivate schoolsonline learninghomeschooling, and microschooling and mix-and-match learning.

What’s new in 2024?

Public charter school opportunities are increasing with the Accelerated Public Charter School Act, which provides public charter school students funding and establishes pilot charter schools.

Idaho Traditional Public Schools

Most children in Idaho (and in America) attend traditional public schools. Traditional public schools are free to attend, open to all students, operated by school districts, and funded by taxpayers like you. Did you know that Idaho spends an average of $9,053 per public school pupil each year? You can search your school’s spending and that of nearby schools at Project Nickel.

As of 2024, about 77.1% of Idaho students choose traditional public schools. Idaho has unrestricted open enrollment for public school. What this means is that you can likely send your child to any public school in Idaho regardless of where you live or where the school is located. You can take advantage of this valuable option by visiting multiple public schools near you and discovering which is the best fit for your family. Traditional public schools aren’t all the same: They may differ in learning methods and one may just “feel different” than another to you.

A law passed in 2023 updates Idaho’s enrollment law and makes a few changes. For example, while transfer students previously had to reapply annually, the new law doesn’t require families to reapply after two years at a public school of their choice.

For a real-world example of the open enrollment transfer process, check out Boise School District’s application guidelines. Just keep in mind that parents are usually responsible for transportation of students participating in open enrollment.

Additionally, through the state’s Advanced Opportunities program, every public school student in Idaho is allocated $4,625 to use in grades 7-12. These funds can be used for dual credits, Advanced Placement Exam fees, professional certifications, workforce training, or other qualified expenses.

Find out more about public schools in your state at the Idaho Department of Education.

Idaho Charter Schools

You have another public, tuition-free option in charter schools! As of 2024, about 8.4% of Idaho students choose charters. Like traditional public schools, charter schools are public, free, and usually have no requirements for entry. What distinguishes charter schools is that they are allowed extra freedom to innovate with curriculum and learning methods. Public charter schools are held accountable to authorizing entities, such as colleges or school districts, for results.

Idaho passed charter school legislation in 1996. Today, Idaho has more than 50 brick-and-mortar charter schools, as well as several virtual charter schools, that parents can choose from. You can find a complete list at the Idaho Department of Education. Each school has a charter which explains the school’s purpose and what specific community need it serves, whether that be providing a language immersion program or offering a rigorous, literacy-based curriculum. For example, one of the state’s newest charters, Elevate Academy Idaho Falls, offers career technical education for at-risk students.

If there are more families seeking admittance to a charter school than there are seats, a lottery system is usually used to determine admittance.

As public school students, charter students have access to the state’s Advanced Opportunities program too.

Free transportation is available to all charter school students in Idaho who live within their school district. Students with special needs who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) are eligible to receive transportation assistance.

Learn more about Idaho’s charter schools from the Idaho Charter School Network. You may also wish to check out the Coalition of Idaho Charter School Families.

Idaho Magnet Schools

Magnet schools are another school choice in Idaho. Magnet schools are free public schools that allow kids to narrow in on a specific learning track, such as engineering or the performing arts. At a magnet school, all the subjects are taught through the lenses of that specific track.

Idaho has more than 20 magnet schools or schools with magnet programs serving 3.1% of the K-12 student population. Idaho’s magnet program locations include Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Hailey, Idaho Falls, Nampa, Ammon, and Coeur d’Alene. As public school students, magnet students have access to the state’s  Advanced Opportunities program, just like students at traditional neighborhood schools.

Idaho Private Schools

Families in Idaho can also consider private schools, nonpublic schools that charge tuition. Private schools may offer a unique curriculum, smaller class sizes, or a faith-based tradition. Idaho’s private schools come in all shapes and forms, from religious schools to schools designed for children with special needs.

There are more than 150 private schools across the state of Idaho serving 5.4% of the K-12 student population. The average tuition for private schools in the state is $8,309 for elementary schools and $7,981 for high schools. Unfortunately, there are no state-run scholarship options in Idaho at present to help with the cost of private school, but private scholarships may be available. Also, the federal government allows parents to save for K-12 private school tuition using tax-preferred 529 savings accounts.

Learn more at the Catholic Diocese of Boise School Directory and Private School Review: Idaho.

Idaho Online Learning

Idaho offers several full-time, free online learning options for students statewide in grades K-12, like Inspire Connections Academy, Idaho Virtual Academy, and the college-prep-focused Gem Prep Online.

Students in grades 6-12 can also consider Idaho Connects Online School, while students in grades 7-12 can consider iSucceed Virtual School or Bonneville Online High School. Students in grades K-8 can consider Idaho Home Learning Academy. Students in grades 9-12 can consider Idaho Technical Career Academy, a full-time online school focused on career readiness. Meanwhile, Kootenai Bridge Academy is an alternative online option for students ages 16-21 seeking to finish high school.

For part-time options, Idaho students may enroll in online classes through the state virtual school, Idaho Digital Learning Alliance. Idaho Digital Learning Alliance is available to students in any type of educational setting, public or private. But, parents should check with their local public school or district for details, as fees may apply.

Additionally, more than 10 Idaho school districts have established online school programs. For example, students in the Boise School District, or students with an approved open enrollment status from another district, can choose the Boise Online School.

To read more about online learning in Idaho, check out the Digital Learning Collaborative’s state profile.

Idaho Homeschooling

Families in Idaho and all 50 states can choose homeschooling! Homeschooling is the process of parents educating students at home and allows for highly customized education. In Idaho, 6% of all K-12 students are homeschooled. The state does not require you to submit notice of your intent to homeschool. However, you may wish to formally withdraw from your current school so that your student is not marked truant.

If you choose to homeschool, you are required to teach subjects commonly taught in Idaho public schools, but specific standardized tests are not required. Keep in mind that your homeschooled child may be eligible to take classes at the local public school, or participate in sports, through the state’s dual enrollment programs.

Idaho may have funding assistance available if you homeschool through a public school program. The Home School Legal Defense Association has a great how-to about homeschooling in Idaho. You may also want to check out Homeschool Idaho or the North Idaho Home Educator’s Association.

Idaho Microschools and Mix-and-Match Learning

Today, many Idaho families are blending school options to come up with new ways to personalize education. Microschools are one of these ways. A microschool refers to students gathering together in a small group – with adult supervision – to learn, explore, and socialize. Microschools can take a variety of shapes and legal forms, from homeschoolers coming together at an enrichment center to a private school committed to small classrooms. What microschools share in common is a commitment to small-group learning and close-knit relationships, along with an emphasis on children as individual learners. 

Here are just a few examples of Idaho microschools and related resources: 

One Idaho online school, Gem Prep Online, is starting pods called “learning societies” for interested families. While using the online school’s curriculum, small groups of students will work in the same space, whether that’s a church, home, or other building.

Heroes Academy is an Acton Academy-style private microschool in Treasure Valley. Another Acton microschool is located in Acton Academy: Idaho Falls. 

Low-income Idaho families can apply to the Empowering Parents Grant Program to receive funding for learning materials and services for their K-12 student. The program is open to homeschool and private school students as well as public school students.

Idaho has passed a bill that allows groups of parents to partner with their school district on “innovation classrooms,” like microschools within the public school setting. Similar to pods, these “innovation classrooms” could be small learning groups where kids use an alternative curriculum and are taught by a specific teacher. 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Download the School Choice Snapshot for Idaho

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What is School Choice

How can it empower parents and help kids achieve their dreams?

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Choosing the Right School

Tips to help you find a school where your daughter or son will learn, succeed, and be happy.

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Search for Schools Near Me

School Type
Traditional public schools do not charge tuition. They are managed by school districts and do not require students to pass tests to enroll.
Public charter schools do not charge tuition. They are usually managed by nonprofit organizations and do not require students to pass tests to enroll.
Public magnet schools do not charge tuition. They are managed by school districts and focus on themes, such as math, science, technology, and the arts.
Private schools charge tuition, but scholarships are often available via state programs or by individual schools. Private schools are privately managed and can be faith-based or secular.
Grade Levels

Microschooling and Mix-and-Match Learning

How can it empower parents and help kids achieve their dreams?

Read More

7 Step Guide

Tips to help you find a school where your daughter or son will learn, succeed, and be happy.

View Guide

Education Resources for
Idaho Parents

For additional information about school choices in Idaho, visit these resources:

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Landmarks Across America Shine for School Choice Week 2024!

Did you witness the magic of National School Choice Week 2024? Starting January 21st, close to three dozen landmarks and notable buildings from Alaska to New York lit up in dazzling shades of yellow and red and created a vibrant celebration of K-12 education opportunities!


JL Tower in Anchorage, Alaska

January 21-27, 2024



Junction Bridge in Little Rock, Arkansas

January 26, 2024

Little Rock

Main Street Bridge in Little Rock, Arkansas

January 26, 2024

Little Rock

Union Plaza in Little Rock, Arkansas

January 21-27, 2024

Little Rock


“M” at Box Springs Mountain in Moreno Valley, California

January 26, 2024

Moreno Valley

Union Station in Los Angeles, California

January 21-27, 2024

Los Angeles


Las Olas Centre in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

January 21-27, 2024

Fort Lauderdale

Platt Street Bridge in Tampa, Florida

January 22, 2024


Kennedy Blvd Bridge in Tampa, Florida

January 22, 2024


Old City Hall in Tampa, Florida

January 22, 2024



One Atlantic Center in Atlanta, Georgia

January 22, 2024



Aloha Tower in Honolulu, Hawaii

January 21-27, 2024



8th and Main Tower in Boise, Idaho

January 21-27, 2024



The Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois

January 25, 2024


Willis Tower in Chicago, Illinois

January 21, 2024



AES Building in Indianapolis, Indiana

January 21, 2024



Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

January 21-27, 2024

Baton Rouge

State Capitol in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

January 21-27, 2024

Baton Rouge

The Governors Mansion in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

January 21-27, 2024

Baton Rouge


Lowry Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota

January 26, 2024



Waldo Water Tower in Kansas City, Missouri

January 21-27, 2024

Kansas City


Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge in Omaha, Nebraska

January 23, 2024


New York

Peace Bridge in Buffalo, New York

January 24, 2024


North Carolina

550 South Tryon Tower in Charlotte, North Carolina

January 27, 2024



Dublin Link Bridge in Dublin, Ohio

January 26, 2024


Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio

January 21-27, 2024



Choctaw Casino and Resort in Durant, Oklahoma

January 21-27, 2024


SkyDance Bridge in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

January 25, 2024

Oklahoma City


Salem Convention Center in Salem, Oregon

January 20, 2024



The Symphony House Condo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

January 26, 2024


Koppers Building in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

January 24, 2024


Gulf Tower in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

January 24, 2024


South Carolina

Governor’s Mansion in Columbia, South Carolina

January 21-27, 2024



Columbia Town Center in Seattle, Washington

January 23, 2024



Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center in Laramie, Wyoming

January 23, 2024 


If you know of a building in your community that would light up for National School Choice Week, please reach out to our team! Send us an email.

For journalists covering the Week, more information and resources to enhance your coverage on a variety of platforms can be found on our media resources page. For families interested in discovering more about the different school choice options available in their home state please visit your state page for a detailed roadmap.

National School Choice Week (NSCW) informs, inspires, and empowers parents to discover the K-12 education options available for their children, including traditional public, charter, magnet, online, private, and homeschooling.

Every January, tens of thousands of schools, organizations, and individuals plan unique events and activities to shine a positive spotlight on effective education options in their communities.  The Week is a project of the nonpartisan, nonpolitical National School Choice Awareness Foundation.

Governor Brad Little issued a proclamation recognizing January 23-29, 2022 as Idaho School Choice Week.


There are a variety of school choice options available for many of the 430,000 children living in Idaho. Families in Idaho can choose from traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, online academies, and homeschooling.

You can discover more information about the school choice options available for your family by reading our Idaho School Choice Roadmap and by visiting the Idaho state page
As a nonprofit, charitable effort, School Choice Week works throughout the year to develop and provide free, practical, and unbiased school search resources for Idaho families.

During our annual awareness celebrations each January, schools and homeschool groups partner with community organizations to plan school fairs, parent information sessions, open houses and other awareness events to spotlight the diversity of education options available in the state. In January 2022, we will partner with 209 schools and organizations in Idaho to raise awareness of K-12 education options.