How Many Charter Schools Are There in San Antonio?

child playground school

The other day, a local education reporter asked me a really good question. Once Celebrate Dyslexia Schools and Triumph Public High School San Antonio open in August 2024, how many charter schools will there be in San Antonio? The answer could be as high as 213, depending on how you define terms like “charter school” and “San Antonio.” Let’s nerd out about San Antonio charter schools!

That big number, 213, includes multiple school models, such as open enrollment public charter schools, in-district charter schools, and magnet schools. It also includes charter schools in residential facilities. Finally, it covers the entire area of Education Service Center Region 20 (ESC Region 20).

School Models

If you define “charter school” as only open enrollment charter schools, then there are 93 in the San Antonio area. Open enrollment charter schools are operated by a nonprofit or a university with an appointed board. They are tuition-free public schools that are open to all students, including students in special education and emergent bilingual students. When I started this blog in 2012, my goal was to help parents and caregivers learn about new open enrollment public charter schools coming to San Antonio, including IDEA Public Schools (2012), BASIS Texas Charter Schools (2013), and Great Hearts Texas (2014).

If you include in-district charter schools and magnet schools, that’s an additional 109 campuses in the San Antonio area. Sometimes I mention that San Antonio ISD is actually the largest charter authorizer in San Antonio, with 43 campuses—and that’s the updated number after SAISD Rightsizing. More than half of SAISD campuses are in-district charter schools. We also partner with East Central ISD, Edgewood ISD, and North East ISD on enrollment guides. Out of those 109 schools, approximately 70 are in-district charter schools and approximately are 40 magnet schools, although the definitions are a little fuzzy.

Our guide to charter schools in San Antonio covers open enrollment public charter schools and in-district charter schools. We consider these to the be the free, public schools of choice that most families in the San Antonio area have access to. However, there is another type of charter school that we don’t currently cover on the guide: schools located in residential facilities. These 11 schools are not relevant to a typical school search because they are located in institutions like mental health treatment facilities, substance abuse treatment facilities, and detention centers.

Taking a step back, these choice schools are grouped into 53 entities, including CMOs (Charter Management Organizations, i.e., networks of open enrollment charter schools), single-site charter schools, and ISDs that operate choice schools.  

San Antonio Area

As a proxy for “San Antonio area,” I rely on the boundaries of ESC Region 20. This area includes some towns—such as Bulverde, Canyon Lake, Uvalde, Leakey, and Ingram—that are arguably outside the San Antonio metro area. However, the vast majority of Region 20’s charter school campuses are within Loop 1604. Looking at the choice schools that are located outside the San Antonio metro area, some are located in residential facilities and others are early college high school magnets in rural ISDs and CISDs.

There is some wiggle room in the number of open enrollment charter school campuses. We usually go by the perception in the community, even if that’s different from what’s reported on or another TEA source. For example, families perceive Great Hearts Monte Vista as one school, even though there are two addresses and two charters in the TEA system. However, the KIPP Cevallos campus has one building with three schools that have unique identities. 

Traditional Public Schools in the San Antonio Area

ESC Region 20 reports on the number of districts and schools in their 19–county area. As of 2021–22, their region contains 58 traditional public school districts and 593 traditional public school campuses. Those traditional public schools serve 443,520 students.

Read More About San Antonio Charter Schools

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Inga Cotton

Parent activist and founder of San Antonio Charter Moms. Raising two children to be independent adults who do good in the world.