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School Closings Don't Impact Magnet Applications

CMS officials weren't sure how school closings would affect magnet school applications this year. But judging by the results of the first magnet lottery, there weren't any major changes. CMS officials were curious to see how school closings would affect interest in magnet schools, particularly from families whose kids will attend new pre-k-8 schools. Would more families apply for a magnet program? Scott McCully, who oversees student placement at CMS, says that didn't happen. "Actually what I think we saw is more students going from fifth grade to sixth grade staying in that pre-k-8," says McCully. Harding High School's IB program received about the same number of applications for next year. Harding is currently a full magnet. But with Waddell High closing next year Harding will also be the home school to many of those students. That decision upset a lot of Harding kids who felt Waddell students would make it harder for them to learn. But McCully says not many of them chose to leave Harding IB. "We did see a strong interest in the IB program at Harding. That was very encouraging," says McCully. "That program will certainly sustain itself, if not grow for the 2011-2012 school year." Parents were dealing with a big uncertainty at the start of the application process. They didn't know if CMS would make additional cuts to magnet transportation. In one of its early budget decisions, the school board decided to keep magnet transportation as is. A second magnet lottery ends June 3rd.