Streams

Charter School Group Reports Steady Demand for Seats

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 06:01 PM

Applications to New York City charter schools continued to grow this year, the New York City Charter School Center reported on Tuesday.

An estimated 133,080 applications were submitted for 14,600 available seats in this spring’s random admissions lotteries, according to the center, a nonprofit group that supports charters.

Because many families apply to multiple schools, the center estimates there were really 67,500 individual applicants.

"Approximately 4.6 students applied for each available seat," said James Merriman, the Charter Center's chief executive officer. "I think last year there were five applications for each available seat. So we see there's just a strong demand for charter schools across New York City."

He estimated that 52,900 families were wait-listed citywide, up from 51,100 last year, based on the Charter Center’s annual survey of charter schools. The city's Department of Education doesn't collect this information directly.

Mr. Merriman attributed the sustained interest to the need for more high quality public schools.

Students had more charter schools to apply to this year, because more than 20 are expected to open this fall. That will put the total number of city charter schools at 158.

Charters are mostly located in Harlem, Central Brooklyn and the South Bronx. Mr. Merriman didn't have a breakdown of which charters were most popular this year, or if some might have attracted less interest this year -- such as those that are located in neighborhoods where the city is also opening new district schools.

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