How do I apply?

You apply for a seat by submitting an application online. If you are a new CMS family, you must enroll in CMS before entering the lottery. If your child is a current CMS student, you will receive a letter with your student’s ID number and PIN from your current school before each year’s lottery.

How are seats in School Choice allocated?

All available School Choice seats will be allocated across three socioeconomic status (SES) categories (high, medium, and low) to achieve the greatest socioeconomic diversity possible. Each student will have priority for one of these categories based on home address and data families will be asked to provide during the lottery application.  To see the SES distribution across Mecklenburg County per the 2020 Census, click here.

What documentation do I need in order to submit my application for the School Choice lottery?

You must first enroll your student in CMS. Once enrolled, parents/legal guardians/ custodians will need the student’s ID Number and PIN to submit a lottery application. This ID number is located on the student’s report card or progress report or may be obtained at the student’s school.

Are there any pre-kindergarten options?

Yes, elementary Montessori programs begin at Pre-K: Park Road, Chantilly, Highland Mill, Trillium Springs.

Does it cost anything to apply to the School Choice lottery?

No. The CMS School Choice lottery is free and open to all CMS families to apply.

If my child gets a School Choice seat, do I have to reapply every year?

No. Once you are accepted and assigned to a school, you do not have to reapply. If a student is assigned to a School Choice seat, the assignment is good for the duration of all grades at that school, as long as the student lives in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and meets all continuation requirements.

What if my child moves or withdraws from a School Choice program?

A student who withdraws from a program loses their seat at that school. The student would be re-assigned to their home school (if they reside in Mecklenburg County).

How many schools can I select on my application?

You may select up to three. Preferences must be ranked by the applicant in order of which is desired most.

How will I know that my School Choice application has been received?

At the end of the School Choice application, you will see a confirmation page containing a confirmation number.  Please either print/screenshot this page or write down the confirmation number as your proof of application completion.

Can I submit a second lottery application?

Yes; however, your first lottery application will be voided. We do not recommend submitting a second application unless you want to change your preferences. 

How will my child get to/from school if they are assigned to a School Choice seat?

Transportation is provided within your transportation zone to your local community. These stops are routed based on your home address. If you apply to a school outside of your transportation zone, you will need to provide transportation for your child.

Do siblings get priority?

Yes. The CMS sibling guarantee ensures placement of a younger sibling into the same school or program as an older sibling in every school except for Early Colleges and Middle Colleges. In instances where there is more than one program at a school, the sibling guarantee applies to a magnet program at the same campus, but does not require that the siblings enroll in the same program.  Due to limitations on space, the sibling guarantee does NOT apply to Early Colleges or Middle Colleges.  In order to take advantage of the sibling guarantee, families must participate in the lottery and request the older sibling’s school for the younger sibling(s).

If I complete and submit my lottery application at the beginning of the application period, will my child have a better chance of being assigned through the lottery process?

No. All applications submitted within the application window receive equal consideration for selection during the lottery process.

Can a student residing outside of Mecklenburg County apply for the School Choice lottery?

No. If your address falls outside Mecklenburg County, you cannot apply in the School Choice lottery.

What if my child attends a School Performance Priority (SPP) school?

Students attending a school designated by the state as low performing for three consecutive years have an additional priority in the lottery. They may use the lottery to select up to three alternate home schools and three School Choice preferences.

How do I transfer to another school?

Transfers are processed by Student Placement; you can read instructions and access the transfer portal here:  You can find transfer instructions here: