Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools launched its online magnet applications for 2012-13 today, and kicks off the school-search season with its magnet fair on Saturday. One of the biggest questions prospective magnet families have is, "What are the odds of getting in?"
That's impossible to predict with certainty, but you can get a pretty good idea by checking lottery results from prior years. Some schools consistently generate long waiting lists, while others have room for all or most who apply.
There are no major changes in lottery programs or neighborhood school boundaries for 2012-13, though a few magnets are continuing to expand grade levels. One twist this year: Families who want to apply for a transfer based on medical issues or "extreme hardship" for the coming year can start the process now, rather than waiting for the magnet lottery to end.
"That was the question we got from parents: 'Why do we have to wait?' We asked ourselves that question," said student placement official Scott McCully, who decided to let both events happen at the same time this year. Children of CMS employees are also eligible for transfers without having to cite medical problems or hardship.
p.s. A couple of people have asked whether CMS plans to revise bell schedules for 2012-13 and/or back off on the longer elementary school day that started this year. I started asking that question on Tuesday but haven't gotten an answer yet.