New data shows enrollment in charter schools and other education sources continues to grow in North Carolina, while enrollment in traditional public schools is falling.

The state's traditional public schools educate just a hair under 80 percent of K-12 students. That's around 6 percent less than they did nearly a decade ago. Meanwhile, enrollment in other school options is on the rise.

Charters saw the biggest bump with nearly 10,000 new students this past year. That number is expected to grow because more of them are receiving state approval and increased funding from the legislature than they did in the past.

The new statewide figures also show a rise in the numbers of students enrolling in home schools and private schools in North Carolina. There are now more than 142,000 students in home school and more than 102,000 students in private schools. 

One of the reasons for the surge in private school enrollment is the Opportunity Scholarship Program. It was created in 2013 by lawmakers to help low-income families pay for tuition costs in order for their child to receive a private education.  

The new state data raises some concerns from public school supporters. They say more money is needed to address issues such as more classroom resources and aging infrastructure, instead of directing it elsewhere. But advocates of private and charter schools say the changes reflect a growing need to offer alternatives that fit the needs of students and their families.


*You can follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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