California's Charter Schools Grow, Over 1,300 New and Expanded Charter Schools Open in 2018

November 8, 2018

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California's Charter Schools Grow, Over 1,300 New and Expanded Charter Schools Open in 2018

Sacramento, CA - The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) announced today that an estimated 660,000 students are enrolled in 1,323 charter public schools in California for the 2018-19 school year. This year the equivalent of 70 new schools opened across the state. The 70 schools include 63 new startups and replications, and seven planned significant expansions of existing schools.

The charter schools association includes significant expansions of existing schools in its annual tally because some expansions are similar to opening an entirely new school. For example, a K-5 elementary school expanding to serve grades 6-8 is very similar to opening an entirely new middle school. Another school might double their capacity in the current grades they serve. CCSA also considers that type of expansion the equivalent of a new school.

"It is gratifying to see that we have so many new schools this year because it shows the demand from parents who want more options for their children," said Jed Wallace, president and CEO of CCSA. "Even as we see resistance from authorizing districts, we have dedicated charter school leaders and parents who are undeterred in their fight to open a school that puts kids first."

The 70 new and replication schools and significant expansions added about 12,600 new students to the total number of students enrolled in California charter schools. Together with growing enrollment in existing charter schools, there is a total estimated increase of about 30,000 students in California charter schools for 2018-19 compared to 2017-18 (where the total was 630,000 students enrolled in 1,276 charter schools).

In addition to the equivalent of 70 new school equivalents, there were 44 charter schools that opened as a result of the Anderson Union HSD v Shasta ruling. This ruling forced many non-classroom-based charter schools to re-petition their resource centers as new charter schools. Although these schools will be assigned new charter numbers by the California Department of Education, CCSA decided to separate them in its annual growth count because most were in existence last year as resource centers.

There were 68 charter schools that closed last year. A number of these were affiliated with the Anderson Union HSD v Shasta ruling. California still remains the state with the greatest number of charter schools, and the most students enrolled in charters, anywhere in the country. This school year, the Los Angeles region had the largest charter school growth with 25 new charter schools opening. The Southern California region saw the second highest growth with 17 new charter schools.

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