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BOISE -- Idaho charter schools would be eligible for state funding to cover a portion of their facilities and maintenance costs under a bill advanced by the House Education committee.

The measure would allow lawmakers to appropriate an estimated $1.4 million annually to nontraditional schools.

Charter schools get a share of tax dollars to help with general operating budgets. But unlike traditional schools, they can't ask local voters to approve levies to offset other expenses.

Department of Education Deputy Chief of Staff Jason Hancock said bill is designed to help even the financial playing field for charters schools.

The funding formula for the bill is complex, but essentially equals 20 percent of the per-pupil average calculated from all public school levies statewide.

The bill now goes to the full House.

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