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N.H. Virtual Charter School Enrollment Jumps for Second Year in a Row

Sam Evans-Brown

New Hampshire's online charter school is seeing a big surge in interest for the fall semester, and it’s having a hard time keeping up with demand.

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The Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS) expanded last year to accommodate students who wanted to stay fully remote but had limited options through their local public school. VLACS gets its funding from the state, which pays about $6,000 per student or about $500 per half credit course.

Officials assumed student enrollment would drop as public schools fully reopened this fall. But with the delta variant and concerns about COVID safety, enrollment has increased this year. According to VLACS CEO Steve Kossakoski, the school now has over 7,300 students across grades K-12, an increase of nearly 50 percent from the same time last year.

Glitches with software upgrades and increased demand have some families in limbo waiting to fully enroll and start classes.

On VLACS’ Facebook page, parents complain of not being able to access classes or customer service.

On its website, VLACS acknowledges that “we have not lived up to our usual customer standards.” Kossakoski says the school has increased the number of people answering phones and help requests, but that it may take two to three more weeks to resolve the issues.

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.
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