More students from Los Angeles Unified attend charter schools than from any other district in America – by far. The 98,576 students who enrolled in charters last year, up a significant 24 percent from 2010-11, were more than double the 48,057 students from New York City, the nation’s largest district and number two in charter attendance. Nearly one out of seven LAUSD students now attend charters.
The annual report by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools found that 2 million students – nearly 5 percent of the nation’s public school population – enrolled in charters last year, with 610,000 on waiting lists. In seven districts, more than 30 percent of students attend charters, led by post-Katrina New Orleans, where three-quarters of students are in charters, and Detroit and Washington, D.C., both with 41 percent of students in charters. The numbers do not include students enrolled in online charters.
Grossmont Union High School District has the largest proportion of charter students among California districts: 21 percent (4,884 of 23,570). Large districts with sizable market share are Oakland (18 percent), Los Angeles (15 percent) and San Diego (10 percent). Sixteen districts in California have at least 10 percent of students in charters.
Last month, the California Charter Schools Association reported that as of this fall, 484,000 students – about 8 percent of the state’s K-12 enrollment – attend 1,065 charters, up 109 schools from last year. Despite state budget cuts for all schools, federal grants of up to $575,000 in startup and initial operating capital have continued to enable new charters to get off the ground.