National News, California Charter School Association. December 18, 2008

Number of California Charter Schools Hits 750
75 New Charters Open this Fall, Half of All New Charter Schools are Replications of Existing, Successful Models.

December 18, 2008
Gary L. Larson
Larson Communications
(415) 722-0127
Susan Wolf
Larson Communications
(415) 516-5512

Los Angeles, CA -- The California Charter Schools Association today announced that 75 new charter public schools opened their doors for the first time this fall, bringing the total number of California charter schools in operation to 750 charter schools, serving approximately 276,000 public school students.

Nearly half of all new charter schools (37 of 75 schools) that opened this fall are replications of existing, successful charter schools, up from 35 percent last year. This is due in large part to Association programs such as the High Quality Charter (HQC) Grant Program, introduced in 2006, which has provided $8 million in planning and start-up grants to support the development of new charter schools in high-need urban school districts throughout California. The Association has helped to replicate successful schools by serving as a resource hub for funding and providing technical assistance for new charter schools.

"The charter school movement continues to grow because charter schools deliver results," said peter Thorp, interim CEO of the California Charter Schools Association. "It is exciting that new charter schools are replicating best practices and expanding access to highly successful public school models for more families in California."

For the fourth consecutive year, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) set or tied its national record for the number of new charter school opened in a single year at 23, equaling last year's record. LAUSD now has the most charter schools for a single district in the nation with 148 charter schools.

The Association also released data on school districts with the highest percentage of public school students attending charter schools. In eight large school districts in California, charter schools educate at least 10 percent of the public school students. Four of these school districts (Grossmont Union High, Chula Vista Elementary, Vista Unified and San Diego Unified) are located in San Diego County, while two of the top school districts (Natomas Unified and Sac City Unified) are located in Sacramento County. Los Angeles Unified has the tenth highest percentage of public school students enrolled in charter schools at eight percent.

As of this fall, approximately one in every six charter schools nationwide (16 percent) operates in California. According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, based in Washington, D.C., there are now more than 4,600 charter schools currently educating over 1.3 million children.

"California continues to play a pivotal role in expanding and strengthening the national charter school movement," said Nelson Smith, President and CEO of the National Allicance. "Most importantly, California's charter schools continue to set the bar for quality. Just last week, a U.S. News and World Report survey revealed that seven of the 18 charter high schools listed among the country's top 100 public high schools reside in California."

To download a fact sheet of this analysis with district- and county-specific information, visit:

About the California Charter Schools Association
The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving 750 charter public schools that serve over a quarter million charter school students in the state of California. The Association's mission is to improve student achievement by supporting and expanding California's quality charter public school movement.


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