RALEIGH -- Smaller class sizes, more on-site control, and specialized curriculum are just a few of the reasons North Carolina parents want their kids to attend one of the state's public charter schools.
But that list of parents wanting this is much longer than the schools can actually accommodate.
“We have received information from one school and they have just under 2400 applicants for 140 seats,” said Joel Medley with N.C. Office of Charter Schools.
Last year, there were 100 charter schools holding class across the state and they had nearly 30,000 kids waiting to get in their classroom.
“We had one school in Charlotte that had over three thousand on the wait list,” said Medley. “And we had a school here in wake county that had over 2000 on the wait list”.
In an attempt to ease those wait lists and give more education options, the General Assembly removed the charter school cap last year. In addition, it allowed charter schools to expand at a faster rate.
School choice advocates said it will take time for those changes to be felt.
“So that we could begin to over the next seven to 10 years begin to reach that demand,” said Darrell Allison, with Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, “and I think it is going to take us quite some time to meet that demand.”
Allison said he expects waiting lists to be in the tens of thousands again this year after most schools hold their lotteries this month. He said this comes down to parents just wanting something different for their child.
“When you look at how we have dropped off in terms of what we do in science, technology, engineering math and the sciences if you will,” said Allison, “there is real concern that North Carolina is in the bottom tier in graduation rates.”
As the demand remains high, though, education leaders say they expect to see increased interest in starting new charter schools across North Carolina.
About 109 charter schools are expected to be operating across the state next fall.