What is the GEM Scholarship?
Eligible families receiving an GEM Scholarship have access to funding that they can use to pay for their child’s education, including private school tuition, online courses, tutoring, special education services and many other state-authorized uses.
Who would be eligible to receive an GEM Scholarship?
Idaho policymakers are proposing to provide GEM Scholarships to low-income families, families that have children with special needs, families with at-risk students, and active-duty military families or families who have had a parent killed in the line of duty.
Where does the funding come from?
There is no additional cost to taxpayers and traditional K-12 funding would be unaffected. We are proposing charitable contributions (that are eligible for an already existing state tax incentive – a credit) to a state-recognized scholarship fund that would help students pay for private school tuition, online courses, tutoring, special education services and many other state-authorized uses. Basically, GEM Scholarships help families afford the what they believe to be the best education option for their child.
When will the program start?
Qualified families could receive an GEM Scholarship for the 2019–20 school year. It will take a year to create the state recognized GEM Scholarship fund, implement the application process and and establish the individual account methods.
Why do we need GEM Scholarships?
Idaho’s schools and teachers do a wonderful job educating our children. But some families need another option to fit their unique needs. GEM Scholarships allow families to personalize their child’s education – whether it be tuition, tutoring, therapy, test preparation or whatever best fits their unique needs.
Idaho has a long history of promoting choice in K-12 education. We have school districts that allow students to attend schools outside of their attendance zone. We have school districts with open-enrollment schools that offer a specialized curriculum or education program. We have public charter schools. And we have private schools providing strong education.
All Idaho families deserve these choices. GEM Scholarships provide that opportunity.
What is Education for All?
We are a coalition of parents, concerned citizens, educators, and leaders from across Idaho.