Region Overview: San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties


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Spanning San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties, the greater San Diego region is home to more than 123 charter schools. Together these schools provide a variety of choices to families-- including independent study, project based learning, college preparatory, international baccalaureate, and German Chinese and Spanish Immersion, just to name a few. Our largest concentration of charter schools is in the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), which is home to 50 charter schools.


Some schools have long histories of performance and support to students in the region while others are newly beginning to serve students in the region. While challenges still remain for charter schools in San Diego and the surrounding areas, there have been many important successes as well. There are also a number of exciting charter school activities in the region that are illustrating the positive impact that charter schools are making in providing high-quality education to students.

San Diego and Orange County Campaign: Telling the Charter School Story

Despite high levels of awareness and support for charter schools, not enough Californians have experience with charters schools nor do they know how charters are changing lives and communities. We need to change that. Members, learn how you can help Share the Truth About Charters. Also included: a list of local community leaders and resources that may be helpful.

Growth and Performance

Fact Sheet: San Diego Charter Schools

Orange County Elected Officials, Community Leaders and Charter Leaders Come Together for Students
With the 2014 election of Linda Lindholm to the Orange County Board of Education and the creation of a partnership between ChartersOC and CCSA, Orange County has become one of the most exciting environments to improve educational opportunity and options for students. Currently only 2% of the counties over 500,000 students attend charter schools in Orange County, but with the community calling for action, three new charter schools have opened in the 2015 school year and many more on the way. Vista Heritage Middle School in Santa Ana and Goals Academy in Anaheim opened as independent charter schools while Unity Middle College High School in Orange and Ednovate's third college prep high school have been authorized to open in the 2016 school year. Orange County is likely to double its charter school options from 15 to 30 in three years.

Urban Academy and High Tech High Open New Campuses in 2015
Providing adequate facilities for charter school students continues to be a significant challenge for charter school boards and charter school leaders, but Urban Academy in downtown San Diego and High Tech High Elementary in Point Loma have opened brand new facilities in 2015.

San Diego Unified School District Passage of Proposition Z - Local School Facilities Bond
In November of 2012, the San Diego Unified School District in partnership with CCSA and the charter community passed a $2.8 billion dollar school facilities bond. As part of that funding, charter schools were allocated a percentage of the bond proceeds for charter school specific projects, and a seven member committee of charter community members was created to act as the body to make recommendations on how the currently estimated $350 million dollars of charter school funding should be spent. Charter school projects totaling $66 million are currently under construction and in the summer of 2015, the SDUSD Board of Education approved the Charter School Facilities Committee recommendations for another $200 million of capital projects and land purchases to address long needed facilities challenges of existing charter school sites. Among the charter schools that were approved are long-standing programs at Gompers, King Chavez, Museum, Health Sciences, Iftin, San Diego Cooperative and San Diego Global Visions Academies.

Ingenuity Charter School Opens in San Diego
In 2015, O'Farrell Charter Schools opened its blended learning and on-line program to support independent study students who are in need of a specialized program in San Diego.

Contact Miles Durfee, Managing Regional Director, Southern California for more information about the region.

Start a Charter in San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties

As CCSA's designated School Development and Support representative for the area, Jennifer Reiter-Cook understands the unique charter school landscape you face and can support you with the necessary skills and resources to start a high-quality charter school. Learn more.

Regional Links

For more information about some of the charter authorizers in the Greater San Diego region, check out links to:

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