CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Parents no longer have to camp out in the brisk November weather to get their child enrolled at a coveted Cincinnati magnet elementary school.
The Cincinnati Board of Education voted on Monday to suspend the district's long-standing policy of assigning magnet school seats on a first-come, first-serve basis. Parents will instead enter their children into an online lottery system.
The controversial "first-come" system left many parents camping on the front lawn of magnet schools for weeks ahead of the mid-November application deadline. Many called the campouts unfair for parents whose work and family obligations kept them from participating.
The new lotto system is modeled after the district's online lottery for high school students. However, it's only a temporary fix for the 2016 – 2017 school year. CPS officials say they're working to create a new magnet application policy for future years.
Applications will be accepted for five weeks – from Oct. 24 through Nov. 29. CPS will randomly run the lottery and select students between Nov. 30 and Dec. 4. After that, a mailed letter will inform parents if their child has been accepted or placed on the waiting list.
Cincinnati Public Schools have 21 magnet elementary schools that specialize in specific academic categories such as arts, science, math, or language. They are considered as some of the best schools in the district.
The new lottery does not impact the traditional Early Application Period for in-district siblings of current magnet school students. Parents of siblings will submit paper applications, as in the past, from Oct. 5-16, 2015, at the magnet schools.
The district will continue to run the limited Magnet Kindergarten Lottery. The kindergarten lottery and the new Magnet School Lottery will accept applications online simultaneously. The kindergarten lottery sets aside 30 percent of available kindergarten seats at five of the more popular magnet schools for students assigned to eligible low-performing schools.