Public charter schools would not exist, let alone grow and thrive, without demand from families seeking high-quality public school choices. Since New York City’s first charter school opened in 1999, this educational option has grown to encompass 236 schools serving 114,000 students—with nearly 52,700 more on waiting lists.
114,000 NYC charter schools are educating more students than the school district in Boston.
1 in 2 kindergarten students in Harlem attends a charter school.
1 in 10 students citywide attend a charter school in the 2017-18 school year.
Parent demand for New York City charter schools reaches an all-time high! Demand increased by nine percent for the 2018-19 school year. There were an estimated 79,600 applicants for the approximately 26,900 seats available in the anticipated 238 NYC charter schools operating this fall. Nine in ten charter schools report having waiting lists that are at least twice the number of available seats.
New York has capped the number of charter schools that can open in the state at 460 of which 355 have been awarded. In addition, the 2015 state legislature revived a sub-set of 22 previously revoked charters – which can be issued anywhere in the state by either of the two authorizers. This leaves a total of 117 available statewide.
Currently, the charter school sub-cap for NYC stands at 50 after a 2015 legislative increase; following the first round of authorizing in 2018, only 6 charters remain. These 6 in addition to the 22 previously revoked subset leaves the potential for only 28 new charters to be issued in NYC.
Our detailed analysis breaks down the charter cap, while our fact sheet answers frequently asked questions about the cap.
Parent demand for New York City charter schools increased by seven percent for the 2017-18 school year! There were an estimated 73,000 applicants for the nearly 25,200 seats available in the 227 charter schools that will be operating this fall. This leaves nearly 48,000 students on waitlists citywide.
Given the critical needs of many NYC students, particularly those in underserved communities, the Charter Center analyzed district school performance, charter demand, and Census data that identified four neighborhoods in the Bronx and Queens that would particularly benefit from the immediate growth of high quality charter schools.
This report shows charter schools are an increasingly significant and growing component in NYC's public education system. In fact, one in three students in Harlem, the South Bronx and Central Brooklyn now attend charter schools and enrollment in charters has doubled over the past four years.