LOS ANGELES (AP) – The number of California students attending charter schools has risen to more than a half million.

The California Charter Schools Association announced Tuesday an estimated 547,800 students are enrolled in charter schools for the 2014-15 school year, up from 519,000 the year before.

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An additional 87 new charters opened this school year, bringing the total statewide to 1,184. Thirty four were closed.

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Demand for charter schools in California continues to rise; some 91,000 students are currently on wait lists.

Charter schools are taxpayer-funded but operate independently of many of the laws and regulations governing traditional public schools. California has more charter schools than any other state in the nation.

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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.