Oklahoma Charter School Association spokesman Steve Huff said Oklahoma’s growth rate has been ideal in some respects.
“Our growth has been slower and more deliberate,” Huff said. “The intent is to create high-quality charter schools going forward and I think we’re doing that. We haven’t had a huge explosion of charters like some states have, but what we have is good quality charter schools that are right for their communities.”
That being said, Huff said there are some constraints that are hurting charter school growth in the state. Funding for facilities could help promote responsible growth, he said.
“Traditional schools have a building fund and charter schools don’t,” he said. “That obviously makes it more challenging to start one because facilities are a huge expense. That’s something we need to address at some point.”
Growth to continue
Despite the limitations, Deskin and Huff think the growth will continue. Charter schools continue to grow nationally as an alternative to the traditional public school model.
“The face of public education is changing,” Deskin said.
“That’s something we have to grapple with now. It’s all about making sure children have educational opportunities whether that is a public school or a charter or a private school,” she said. “If you have something new, it takes a while for people to understand what it is all about.”