Enrollment up by nearly 1,000 among St. Paul charter schools

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, October 31, 2013

There’s no trash talk, no claims of supremacy — in fact, the school’s director is a big fan of the St. Paul public schools.

But if you are looking for the story about enrollment growth in St. Paul today, it’s not among the city schools, but at charter schools such as the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists (SPCPA) — just across the street from City Hall.

There, every hour or so, the kids pour out of skyway-level classrooms, filling the halls of the Lowry Building with cries of “Hey, Caleb!” or “Anna!” Janice Rettman, longtime St. Paul and Ramsey County elected official, has been close witness to the Lowry’s transformation. To her, she said, the energy — with all those students — feels like “hockey tournament time.”

This year, the charter school added 64 students, an impressive gain but just one piece of a 945-student enrollment increase this fall at charter schools across the city, according to Joe Nathan, director of the Center for School Change. As of Oct. 1, charter school enrollment in St. Paul stood at 12,241, compared with 11,296 a year ago, he said.

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