During the 2016-17 school year, 286,809 students enrolled in Florida’s charter schools, according to data from the Florida Department of Education.
That’s an increase of more than 16,600 students from the previous school year.
However, this represents the slowest growth since 2008, both in the sheer number of students and the speed at which it occurred.
From 2010 to 2014, the number of students enrolled in charter schools grew by an average of 13.7 percent a year. But in 2015 and 2016, the percentage of new charter school students dropped to the single digits. State data show just 6.2 percent growth this past school year.
Charter school closures appear to have outstripped new schools. The number of charter schools operating in the state dropped to 648 in the 2016-17 school year.
Overall, several districts saw increased enrollment in charter schools.
Miami-Dade charter schools grew by 4,584 students to 63,618; Broward also saw a jump in its enrollment to 46,173 students, an addition of 2,376 students; Duval reported an increase of 973 students for a total enrollment of 13,334; Hillsborough saw a boost in the number of students by 1,403 to an enrollment of 18,103; and Orange’s enrollment increased by 1,141 to 13,754.
By contrast, a few districts saw dips in enrollment. Alachua’s enrollment dropped by 722 students to 1,075. Pinellas’ enrollment also declined by 1,003 students to 5,898, as four charters shut down.