It's about great public schools.

Growth + Demand

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 216 schools serving 106,600 students—with nearly 44,400 more on waiting lists.

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
will attend a charter
school in the 2016-17 school year.

In New York City, there are an estimated 68,000 applicants for nearly 23,600 available charter school seats – creating a citywide charter waiting list of an estimated 44,400 children. Demand for charter school seats remains strong with a 4% increase in applicants from the 2015-16 school year.

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New York has capped the number of charter schools that can open in the state at 460. 303 charters that count against have been issued, including 30 charters that have been revoked or non-renewed, have been issued to date, with 216 of those currently operating in NYC; charter schools that are converted district schools do not count against the cap. Recall that in 2015, the legislature revived a subset of 22 charters previously revoked (and which could not be used again). As of December 2016, 157 charters remain to be issued statewide, including 30 charters remaining in NYC, by one of New York’s two authorizers – the State Education Department Board of Regents (Regents) and the SUNY Charter School Institute (SUNY). Our detailed analysis breaks down the charter cap, while our fact sheet answers frequently asked questions about the cap.


Charter School Enrollment Doubles In Last 4 Years!

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.

2015-16 Enrollment Lottery Estimates

Out of 207 charter schools operating in 2015-16, 193 (93%) responded to the NYC Charter School Center’s survey about their lottery application rates.

2014-15 Enrollment Lottery Estimates

With only 21,000 charter seats for the 2014-15 school year, there was a citywide charter school “waiting list” of an estimated 49,700.

Waiting for Their Chance

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools examines conditions in 10 urban districts that have large waitlists for their public charter schools, including New York City.

Growth & Demand Fact Sheet

This fact sheet illustrates the growth in the number of charters schools beginning in 2007, with projections up to 2020.

Lottery Process Fact Sheet

Due to the high demand from parents, charter schools receive many more applications than they have seats available. Charters then fill their seats by a random lottery.

Cap Fact Sheet

In NYC, 30 total charters are available to be issued in the future, by either the Regents or the SUNY Trustees.

2013-14 Enrollment Lottery Estimates

2012-13 Enrollment Lottery Estimates