Charter school enrollment tops 10 percent in eight Florida districts

More than 100 school districts in the U.S. now have 10 percent or more of their students in charter schools, and eight Florida districts are among them, according to a report released Wednesday.

The Lee County School District leads Florida districts with 14 percent, says the report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, which is based on enrollment figures for the 2011-12 school year. It’s followed by Broward, Lake, Miami-Dade, Polk and Sarasota (all at 12 percent), Indian River (at 11 percent) and Osceola (at 10 percent).

New Orleans tops all districts with 76 percent, followed by Detroit (41 percent), Washington D.C. (41 percent), Kansas City, Mo. (37 percent) and Flint, Mich. (33 percent).

Two Florida districts are among the 10 fastest-growing for charters. Between 2010-11 and 2011-12, charter enrollment rose from 6,207 to 9,452 in Hillsborough County, a 52 percent increase that put it at No. 2 nationally over that span. Broward County showed a 26 percent increase, putting it at No. 6.

Eight Florida school districts are also among the Top 50 in total number of charter students, but that has a lot to do with how huge Florida districts tend to be. Miami-Dade leads all Florida districts and is No. 6 nationally with 41,767 charter students last year.

For more about the report, see New York Times here and Huffington Post here.

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BY Ron Matus

Ron Matus is director for policy and public affairs at Step Up for Students and a former editor of redefinED. He joined Step Up in February 2012 after 20 years in journalism, including eight years as an education reporter with the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times). Ron can be reached at or (727) 451-9830. Follow him on Twitter @RonMatus1 and on facebook at