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Magnet changes drive lower lottery applications at CMS

The CMS student placement office says the number of applicants so far this year is close to what it was for the same period last year. But the office expects fewer applicants overall by the time this first lottery closes on Monday night. This year, applicants have fewer magnet programs to choose from. The district eliminated seven programs and is changing eight others. CMS officials say about 2,000 students have to find different programs or schools as a result of this change. Also, a new law is expected to decrease the number of applicants because parents tend to enroll kindergarteners into magnet programs. Starting next school year, kindergarteners will have to be five years old before August 31st. The cutoff date used to be October 16th. More than 19,000 students are currently enrolled in magnet programs.