Austin-area charter school enrollment has reached an all-time high of 25,400 students, eight times more than a decade ago. Local charter schools now educate about 12 percent of Travis County public school students. Statewide charter school enrollment has nearly hit 273,000 students, about 5 percent of the students in Texas.
New charter-friendly Texas laws and programs will likely push those numbers even higher.
The Legislature in the most recent session decided for the first time to give charters funding for building schools. Lawmakers also made way for charter operators to run traditional public schools with chronic low academic performance. And a new program by the Texas Education Agency offers money and resources to districts that work with an outside partner, including charters, to improve those schools and stave off the possibility of future campus closures.