Enrollment Doubles In North Carolina Charter Schools

Enrollment Doubles In North Carolina Charter Schools

11:43am Jan 04, 2017
WFDD File Photo/KERI BROWN

State records show that charter school enrollment in North Carolina has more than doubled in five years.

Enrollment in North Carolina's traditional public schools has declined since the state in 2011 removed the limits on the number of charter schools allowed, The Charlotte Observer reported.

State records show that 168 charter schools had nearly 92,000 students in the first month of the current school year. That compares with about 45,000 students in the 100 charter schools the state allowed five years ago.

Seventy-five of the state's 115 school districts reported fewer students this year than last year.

Charter schools gained more than 9,600 students in the past year. Public school enrollment dropped by about 3,400 students.

Charter schools are independent public schools that report to nonprofit boards. They have only 6 percent of the state's 1.5 million students.

Public school officials complain that because charter schools don't have a specific geographic zone, it's impossible to predict where their students will come from. And families who aren't satisfied can leave charter schools and return to the districts.

Charter school supporters say the independent schools save taxpayers money, especially in growing areas where counties must pay to build new district schools. Charter schools get no government money for buildings.

Charter schools serve more white students than regular public schools do. Charter school enrollment is about 57 percent white while just under 50 percent of public school students are white.

Enrollment of black and Asian students in charter schools is nearly identical to the public schools. Fewer Hispanic students enroll in charter schools than traditional schools.

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