Magnet and lottery schools provide a specialized curriculum at a school that is designed to draw students from across a whole district rather than from a specific neighborhood. They often have specialized academic focuses or themes, like arts or STEM, which allow students to explore their individual interests. Magnet schools can be highly selective and lottery schools can have application-based open admission.
Magnet schools provide free transportation to students who live more than two miles away from the school. The district is required to provide transportation for grades K-8. Districts can choose whether to provide transportation for grades 9-12, either through directly busing them or providing students with public bus passes.
If a district deems an eligible student “impractical to transport” and does not provide busing, parents can receive a payment of $250 at the end of the school year as compensation for alternative transportation costs.
Magnet and lottery schools are free to students who live within the school's district boundaries.
They are also free to any student in surrounding districts if the school's district chooses to participate in open enrollment programs. Otherwise, students pay a tuition set by the district to attend. Tuition for non-open-enrollment districts can range from $1,175 to $21,000, with the average being $5,000.
Magnet schools are funded by local, state and federal tax dollars and receive the same funding rate as other schools in the district that operates them. District schools receive an average of $10,850 per student. Schools can also receive grants and corporate sponsorships.
There may be admission criteria required at magnet schools. Many magnet schools have a competitive entrance process, requiring an entrance exam, interview, or audition.
Lottery schools may hold an application-based lottery to determine admission. In a lottery, admission is determined through a random number lottery system. Parents are required to fill out an application before the deadline, and then it is entered into the lottery pool. On a scheduled date, names are drawn for the school’s open slots from the pool.
To find lottery deadlines, parents can contact the school district by calling or visiting their district’s school choice website.
All teachers in a magnet school are required to hold a valid Ohio teaching license.