Inside Charter Closings: Inside Charter School Growth

Charter school closures have decreased, driven by a decline in unexpected, mid-term closures.

While the national charter closure rate among large authorizers was down in 2015-16, the rate of closure at renewal time was steady at about seven percent. The decline in closings was driven by fewer schools closing in the middle of their charter term, not fewer closures during the planned renewal evaluation by their authorizer.

Good authorizing seeks to limit unplanned school closures that can cause enormous disruption for families and communities, so it is positive to see fewer schools closing outside of renewal time. However, more research is needed to explain if and how authorizing is driving this trend. Schools typically close outside of renewal due to financial problems, so it could be that charter schools are improving financial management. It is also possible that authorizers are approving fewer charter schools at risk of running into financial trouble or that they are growing more averse to closing schools mid-term.