The legislature will resume its debate over Michigan's charter school cap after entering session in late September. The bill increasing the number of charter schools that can be set up by public colleges and universities in Michigan was tabled before the summer recess.
Michigan currently has 173 charter schools, serving approximately 50,000 students. Seven out of 10 charter schools in Michigan carry waiting lists. The Michigan cap on charters limits the number of university-chartered schools to 150; and only 23 of Michigan's charter schools have been chartered by other means. Local school districts and community colleges can authorize charters, but few choose to do so. The bill would increase the cap by 25 every year, until it reached 225 in 2002.
Gov. Engler has voiced frustration with the stalemate over the bill. In May, Central Michigan University opened a new national charter school research center, the Charter Schools Development & Performance Institute. The irony of Michigan housing the national charter research center, while the Legislature refuses to allow more charters to exist, has disappointed Engler and other charter school advocates.