NORTH CAROLINA CHARTER SCHOOL ENROLLMENT SOARS IN 2021
If you are a charter school bond investor having nightmares that COVID would take a toll on charter school enrollment, you are in for a good night’s sleep. In a review of enrollment trends, the School Improvement Partnership (SIP) Database confirms an enrollment increase of over 10% from 2018 through 2020 at all North Carolina charter schools. A more detailed review of North Carolina charter school borrowers where School Improvement Partnership serves as Continuing Disclosure Agent reveals that this positive trend in North Carolina has continued into 2021.
All charter schools in North Carolina are in the SIP Database with such data metrics as enrollment, academic performance, percentage of economically disadvantaged students and the charter expiration date, among other data points. From 2018 to 2020, enrollment went up in 130 of the 170 North Carolina charter schools in the SIP Database. Total charter school enrollment in all 170 such charter schools increased by over 10,000 students from 2018 to 2020 – or 10.8%.
What contributed to this enrollment increase for North Carolina charter schools and charter school borrowers? One factor is that the Governor kept all district public schools closed until October 5, 2020, while charter schools could exercise their own discretion -provided they met the state health guidelines regarding masks and social distancing on campus. Second, many charter schools provided laptops and internet hotspots to their students who needed them to facilitate distance learning. According to its voluntary EMMA filing prepared with assistance from School Improvement Partnership, Coastal Preparatory Academy gave out laptops to 300 of its 539 students during the shift from on-site to distance learning in response to COVID. A third factor supporting the enrollment growth: student and teacher retention is strong. As an example, according to its voluntary EMMA filing, Research Triangle Charter High School retained 100% of its students for the start of the 2020 school year – and all of their teachers.
How can a charter school bond investor with charter school investments outside of North Carolina avoid sleepless nights? A subscription to the SIP Database would help. Restless high-yield investors can sign up for a free two-week trial here.