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Charter schools thrive in pandemic

Backers say charters more flexible
Posted at 7:29 PM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 14:04:22-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Charter schools are thriving in the pandemic world of COVID. KGUN9 On Your Side asked the head of the Arizona Charter School Association to explain their appeal.

Arizona embraced charter schools much sooner than many states. Now Jake Logan, the President of the Arizona Charter School Association says about 21 percent of Arizona’s Public School students go to charter schools.

“Which is the highest in the country by a long shot," he said. "And I think parents generally shop around to find the best fit for their student, whether it's at a district or charter, and we're very fortunate to have good schools in both districts and charters.”

Charters are public schools. There’s no tuition. They operate with money from the state education budget.

Jake Logan says during COVID, more parents decided to move their children from school district schools to charters. He says reasons vary, from curriculum, to mask policy, to virtual instruction or not. Overall, he says charters have an easier time adapting to change.

“We have in Arizona, a lot of small, I will refer to them as 'mom-and-pop' schools or one or two sides," he said. "It's not turning the battleship as much as if you need to flip the switch and say, Hey, this is working better, you can implement it faster in some cases.”

Logan says charter use in Pima County is 18 percent -- a little lower than the state average but still high enough to account for about 100 schools and roughly 25,000 students.