Enrollment rises 77% in state’s virtual charter schools

Parents looking to forgo any in-school instruction for 2020-21 have already sent student enrollment in Oklahoma’s statewide online public schools sky high, according to new information from a state education agency.

The Statewide Virtual Charter School Board has tracked Aug. 1 student enrollment since 2015 and found a year-over-year increase of nearly 77% between this year and the same time last year.

The data, showing 18,880 students in the state’s five virtual charter schools last year and 33,393 in the six such schools that now operate in Oklahoma, was presented to the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board at its monthly meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

“We use Aug. 1 (to track enrollment growth) because that was always the date by which they were given their initial state aid allocation. Now, it is a rollover from the prior year’s average daily membership,” said Rebecca Wilkinson, executive director of the board.

A number of local school districts across the state have established virtual school options for home-based learning, but many have put together new ones to give parents a choice for the new academic year as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.

Every child in the state lives within the attendance boundaries and therefore has open enrollment access in the six statewide virtual charter schools currently sponsored by the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, including one operated by Epic Charter Schools.

They are Epic One-on-One, E-School Virtual Charter Academy, Insight School of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Connections Academy, Oklahoma Information and Technology School, and Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy.

Epic One-on-One posted an 83% increase, from 14,647 students on Aug. 1, 2019, to 26,793 this Aug. 1, according to the statewide virtual board’s latest count.

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