GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – More than 1,400 children are on waiting lists to attend charter public schools in Kent and Ottawa counties, The Grand Rapids Press reported, reflecting a steady increase in the schools’ popularity.

“Our building is maxed out,” Principal Daryl Vriesenga of Vanguard Charter Academy told The Press. “We know there is a real desire for charter schools and there just aren’t enough to go around.”

Vanguard has 72 children on a waiting list for kindergarten alone, according to The Press.

State Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, told The Press that there is no movement in the Legislature currently to lift the cap on university-sponsored charter public schools. However, Rep. Tim Melton, D-Auburn Hills, has introduced a bill that would allow charters to open in areas where there are consistently failing conventional public schools, The Press reported.

National Heritage Academies, which operates 10 charter public schools in Kent and Ottawa counties, would "welcome expansion, if given the opportunity," Chief Executive Officer Jeff Clark told The Press.

The Grand Rapids Press, “Charter schools learn a lesson in popularity, with more than 1,400 students on waiting lists,” May 4, 2009

Michigan Education Report, “Charter report favorable, state board wants more,” Feb. 24, 2009