Housing Complex

Help Me Understand the Charter School Space Race

Where the charters are.

Charter schools are expanding. Fast. Like 8 percent a year fast—and they're already up to 41 percent market share of D.C.'s student population. The big obstacle, as KIPP CEO Susan Schaeffler told the Examiner in April, is space: How do you find a new school building on a budget within the confines of academic years when you're adding classes at a quick clip?

At the moment, lots of them are competing for some of the campuses that D.C. Public Schools have shut down over the past four years, but that's a long and risky process; advocates have long lamented the difficulty of accessing city facilities (or you could just ask Youthbuild). If they buy or build their own building, they'll typically lack the amenities that their public school friends have, since the per-student facilities allotment—which was recently cut—doesn't leave room for niceties like gyms, theaters, and cafeterias.

So, how are charters finding space? What's getting in the way? I'm writing on this for next week, and thoughts are welcome: ldepillis@washingtoncitypaper.com.

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