The question in the title is posed to me often and I always repeat that guarded CPA and attorney retort, “It depends.”
I do look ahead, like you, and wonder myself. So, if I were forced to guess, this is what I’d say.
Currently, there are 158 charters with about 81,686 students, serving 5.4% of all public school students.
1. Charters continue to perform and parents continue to demand charter schools.
2. State population growth is the same as the last 10 years.
3. The State Board of Education and DPI continue policies and practices that place administrative barriers to new charters and founders.
4. There are no statute changes to encourage new charter authorizers.
5. The General Assembly political power rests predominantly where it is currently.
6. Local school boards and county commissions learn how they can better serve their constituents by fostering and participating in new charter generation.
Then, in 10 years there will be 360 charter schools with 198,000 students, and charters will serve 11.0% of public school students.
Be aware that when the charters started there were 7.5 million NC residents and there are 10 million today, an increase of 33%. The 100 charters we had with the cap would be 133 today when adjusted for population growth. This means that with 158 charters we really only have 25 more. So, in 2016 elected officials and education policy makers see substantial growth but the average parent, looking for an option, does not.