As you’ve discovered, there are several types of public school options, and each has its own unique path that you can follow to get there.
Public Schools Within Your School District
Is there a magnet or lottery school in your district that you want your child to attend? Or are you interested in another neighborhood school in your district? Well, you’ve got options!
Magnet or Lottery School
To attend a magnet school, you need to check with the district because each district has a different sign up process. Magnet schools may have selective admission. Students might be required to apply based on different factors, such as a student’s grades or their artistic audition. Check with the magnet school you are interested in to find out what that school requires.
In a lottery school, 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. Check with your district to find out what the deadlines are for the lottery process at the magnet school you are interested in. Deadlines are usually in fall or winter for the following year.
Other Neighborhood School in your District
If you want your child to attend a different neighborhood school in your district rather than your assigned school, you can use intra-district open enrollment to request a transfer to the school you prefer. Most districts have an intra-district open-enrollment policy that will allow you to move your child to that school as long as space permits. Call your school district to see what is required because each district works a little differently. Spring is usually the best time to contact the district for the next school year.
Public Schools Outside Your Assigned District
Have you determined that the best school for your child is a school district that you don’t live in? It could be a regular neighborhood in the next district or a specialized magnet school across district lines. Well, you have some options to help get her there.
Most school districts in the state have an inter-district open enrollment policy. That means that a child that lives in another district is free to attend, as long as there is space for that student in the school. Click here to find out if the district you want your child to attend has an open enrollment policy.
There are two different types of inter-district open enrollment. The first is that the district is open to students in the surrounding (“adjacent”) districts only. That means that your child’s assigned district has to border the district you want her to attend. The other option is that the district is open to students from all districts, and that means a child from anywhere in the state could enroll in that school, as long as space permits.
So what do you do if there is no open-enrollment policy in the district you want your child to attend? If open enrollment is not available at the district you want to send your child to, you can always check with the school and see how much their out-of-district tuition costs or click here for a list of tuition rates on the Ohio Department of Education's site. If you find that this is the best fit and the district accepts tuition-paying students, you may simply pay the tuition cost for your child to attend.
Tuition for non-open-enrollment districts range from $1,175 to $21,000 per year, with the statewide average at $5,000 for in-state students. Tuition at Ohio districts for out-of-state students averages $9,000 per year.
If you want to send your child to a charter school, the process is simple. You just sign your child up to attend that school. Really – it’s that simple!
Charter schools are the most open public schools, along with neighborhood district schools, because they cannot have admission criteria. They also cannot turn away students unless more students apply than they have seats. In that case, there would be a lottery. So, if you find a charter school that you want your child to attend, simply call or visit and sign up.
Career-Tech schools can be a great option, especially for students who like a more hands-on approach to learning. In order to send your child to a Career-Tech school, you simply have to sign him up. Sometimes there are GPA requirements for programs. Visit the Tech Prep Ohio website to see what programs are available in your district.