Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls

Boom time for St. Louis charter schools

ST. LOUIS • A steady stream of parents moved from table to table inside Scottrade Center, listening to pitches from charter school principals and recruitment directors who wanted nothing more than to enroll their children.

It was the largest charter school admissions fair to date in St. Louis, where eight new independent public schools are expected to open this fall: four elementary, two middle and one high school, plus an all-girls middle and high school that will focus on science, technology, engineering and math education.

If projections hold true, enrollment will increase 20 percent in charter schools — tuition-free public schools that aren’t affiliated with the St. Louis school system. That would put the charter school student population at almost 50 percent of the city school district. Thirty-four charter schools are expected to enroll 11,700 students next year.

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