The U.S. Department of Education said a charter school in Mississippi said Tuesday it reported a spike last month in enrollment as the state grappled with the aftermath of a statewide outage.
The Department of Commerce said the Mississippi Department of Emergency Management said Monday that it had restored service for the city of Oxford to allow charter schools to resume.
It said that the charter school’s charter service provider, the Charter Communications Inc. was the source of the outage.
It did not specify how many charter schools were affected.
A charter school charter in Jackson, Miss., is seen during a news conference on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2018.
The Mississippi Department Of Emergency Management issued a report Tuesday that it said revealed a large surge in enrollment in the state’s charter schools in the wake of the statewide outage that crippled the entire state’s public transportation system.
The charter schools reported a 1,831 percent increase in enrollment from January to July.
The charter schools included Jackson Middle School, where the school year is being shortened to four weeks from the current seven to allow for more charter school openings.
The district said it is still working to get all charter schools operating and its website has been restored.
The state has asked charter operators to provide data to show how many students were enrolled, how many families attended the school and how many of those families were enrolled in charter schools.
A spokesman for the state Department of Finance said the report indicates charter schools accounted for a large portion of the charter growth in the region, which was about 12 percent.
The Mississippi charter school enrollment surge was “substantially larger” than what was seen in other states during the statewide outages, said David Pomeroy, a spokesman for Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.
The report also showed that charter schools enrolling about 1.5 percent of the state population are about 10 times more likely to enroll than those that are enrolling fewer than 1 percent.
State officials have been working to boost charter enrollment, which has been hit hard by the national economic recession.
A recent report showed charter enrollment growth was almost 3 percent nationwide in 2017.
The department reported that charter school enrolment increased by more than 13 percent in the last four years.
In Mississippi, charter school enrollments declined 1 percent from 2015 to 2016.
The school year began on Sept. 1 and the school closed Sept. 15.
In addition, the charter schools that were affected were shuttered because of the national shutdown.