Eighty-nine new charter schools opened in California this year, bringing the state’s total number of charter schools to 686. That’s a record in California, where 84 such schools were opened in 2005, the last time the record was set. Los Angeles Unified led the pack in new charters, with 23 schools opening.

Caprice Young, CEO of the California Charter Schools Association, was excited to announce the numbers, and especially excited that 35 percent of the new charters were copycat schools that use ideas tested in existing schools.

“The creativity and the energy is expanding,” Young said. “Our rule of thumb is, ‘Do more of what works, do less of what doesn’t, and know the difference.’”

Roughly a dozen charters close each year in California, Young said, and those numbers have remained steady.

Meanwhile, charter advocates say the demand hasn’t slowed: A survey conducted by the California Charter Schools Association found that nearly two-thirds of responding charter schools have waiting lists.

EMILY ALPERT

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