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NC charter enrollment continues to grow

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NC charter enrollment continues to grow, with more families than ever choosing these public schools of choice for their children. That’s a key takeaway from a recent analysis by EdNC of the first month’s enrollment figures for 2023-24. Those numbers, released by the Department of Public Instruction and reflecting Average Daily Membership, are current as of November 3. They will be updated in the coming weeks.

Charter enrollment continues to rise this year

Currently in North Carolina, 139,985 students are enrolled in 209 public charter schools, according to EdNC’s analysis. This is a 4.9% enrollment increase since last year.

Meanwhile, enrollment in district public schools has declined 0.4% since last year and 3.6% since before the pandemic. Fall 2020 numbers in the table below reflect the first enrollment drop, following school closures in Spring 2020. Numbers ticked back up in 2021 and 2022, and appear to have declined again this year–the second drop in district enrollment since the pandemic.

Here’s EdNC’s table of fall enrollment for the past four years (totals include charter as well as lab schools):

Source: EdNC, November 28, 2023.

Four of the state’s five biggest school districts experienced enrollment declines this year, EdNC notes. Those districts include Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools, Cumberland County Schools, and Guilford County Schools. Among the state’s largest districts, only Wake County Schools grew its enrollment.

Read more from EdNC.