The latest enrollment numbers from the Florida Department of Education show charter school enrollment jumped to just over 270,000 last fall.
That means charters grew about 7.8 percent since last school year — their slowest growth rate in nearly a decade. The latest figures from state economists show total public-school enrollment, which includes charters, has increased about 0.7 percent in the 2015-16 school year.
While it’s getting harder to open a charter school in Florida, and that likely helps explain the slowdown, students are still flocking to charters in large numbers. Charters added some 19,000 students in the current school year, which means enrollment has more than doubled over the past five years.
In a handful of districts, including Escambia County, where the school board closed a pair of troubled Newpoint charter schools, the number of students attending charters actually declined. Two districts in Orlando’s suburbs (Seminole and Osceola Counties) saw some of the fastest growth. Osceola’s student population is predominantly Hispanic, and Florida’s Hispanic families have been more likely to choose charter schools for their children.
The table below shows the 10 Florida school districts with 1,000 or more charter-school students where charters grew the fastest. Download the full set of numbers here.
|District||Charter enrollment 2015-16||Charter enrollment 2014-15||Increase/Decrease||Percentage increase|