Charters Still Growing Student Enrollment In Texas

The Houston Independent School District ranks No. 7 in the country in terms of the sheer number of charter school students.

More than 40,000 students attend charter schools here. That’s a 6-percent jump from last year.

Similarly, charter school enrollment grew last year in Dallas and San Antonio, by 8 and 4 percent, respectively.

But that single digit growth is much slower than other places like districts Georgia and California. There some charter schools are seeing double digit growth in enrollment.

Anna Nicotera is with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. She sees at least one reason why growth is slower here.

“In Texas, there is the cap on charter schools and so the growth may be stunted a little bit by that.”

There is a limit on charter school operators here.

But earlier this year, the Texas Legislature decided to raise that cap from 215 to more than 300. Lawmakers also decided to allow charter operators from outside Texas to apply.

Nicotera says Texas has a big charter school market but still has room to grow.

“I mean they do have some very large number of students already attending schools, so you do have to wonder, you know, how many more students could attend with those caps in place.”

Earlier this year, the Texas Education Commissioner approved three new charter operators to open their doors next school year.

Read the full report on charter school market share around the United States here.

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