IDEA Public Schools Lottery FAQ for the 2021-22 School Year

Lottery Approaching: FAQs About IDEA’s 2021-22 Student Lottery Process

IDEA’s Student Lottery in Texas (with the exception of IDEA Travis) and Florida is on Saturday, February 27! This important event is held annually in all our regions to ensure equal access for all student applicants to IDEA Public Schools.  Any student, regardless of where they live, academic standing, learning ability or income has an equal opportunity to be accepted into an IDEA school. Lotteries are held to randomly select students to fill spots for the 2021-2022 school year. 

As you begin your journey with IDEA Public Schools, please review these frequently asked questions about why we have a lottery, our process and what you can expect. 

Lottery FAQs 


Q: Why does IDEA have a lottery?
A: Any student regardless of where s/he lives, academic standing, or income has an equal opportunity to be accepted into an IDEA school. Lotteries are held to randomly select students to fill spots for the 2021-2022 school year. 

Q: How is the lottery conducted?
A: During the lottery, names will be selected at random, by grade, with spots offered in the order of names selected. When the capacity for each grade level is reached, the remaining applications will be assigned a position on our waiting list in a randomized order. Only applications completed before the deadline will participate in the lottery. Applications submitted after the lottery are granted seats or added to the wait list based on availability.  

Q: When is the lottery in my region?
A: For the 2021-2022 school year, we will be hosting separate lotteries dependent on the regions your child attends.   

Texas – Lottery: Saturday, February 27, 2021 (*Updated as of 2/18/2021 due to extreme weather and power outages across our regions)

  • Austin 
  • El Paso 
  • Greater Houston 
  • Permian Basin (IDEA Yukon) 
  • Rio Grande Valley 
  • San Antonio 
  • Tarrant County 


IDEA Permian Basin (IDEA Travis ONLY) – Lottery through Apply Midland has been postponed due to inclement weather. We will share updates as soon as we have them available.

Southern Louisiana 

  • Baton Rouge: February 2, 2021 
  • New Orleans:  
    • Late March – Results/Placements from Round 1 Applicants  
    • Round 2 on Enroll NOLA (K-12) 
    • End of March/1st week in April (Estimated) – Round 2 Opens One Week After Round 1 Results Released  
    • Beginning of May – Round 2 Application Closes  
    • June – Results/Placements from Round 2 Applicants 


Florida (IDEA Tampa Bay) – Lottery: Saturday, February 27, 2021 (*Updated as of 2/18/2021)

  • Lottery 1: November 14, 2020  
  • Lottery 2: January 16, 2021  
  • Lottery 3: February 27, 2021 


Q: How do I apply for the lottery? What is the deadline? 

A: Before the lottery process begins, you need to make sure your application is submitted! To be part of our student lottery, you must submit your child’s application by 11:59 p.m. CST the evening before the lottery. We strongly encourage parents to apply before this time to have the best chance to attend IDEA! You may choose to apply to multiple IDEA schools and submit one application per child. Families can submit an application at any time. 

Once your application is submitted via STREAM (or Apply Midland for IDEA Travis), you will be contacted by an IDEA Public Schools team member about the next steps in the process.  After our first touchpoint, you can expect to hear from us several times before lottery day. 

Q: How are Lottery results verified as random?
A: IDEA utilizes STREAM, an automated enrollment software system that is fair, transparent, and complies with data privacy regulations. 

Q: Is anyone given preference in the lottery?
A: Yes. Texas, Louisiana and Florida charter school law require us to give preference to the following individuals:  

  • Siblings of IDEA students.  
  • Children of IDEA employees.  
  • Existing students or transfers.  
  • In Tampa Bay, students residing in or attending one of 9 Persistently Low Performing schools (PLPs).  
  • In Tampa Bay, students living in any PLP/School attendance zone.
  • In Tampa Bay, students living in an opportunity zone.  


In Tampa Bay, we will be hosting three lotteries. Lottery 3 on February 27 will include all priority categories.  

  • Lottery 3 (February 27, 2021): Priorities 1 – 7 



Q: How am I notified of lottery results? 
A: On the day of lottery, families with an offer will receive a notification of their status via the preferred method of communication indicated on their application (email and/or text). All families will also be able to see their offer status in STREAM after the lottery has finished running in their region.  An initial round of offers will be sent on lottery day, and offers will continue being sent if seats become available. Families will also receive a follow up call from their campus within a few days of receiving an offer. 

Q: I have a question about my notification. Who can I contact before taking action on my notification? 
A: After the date of your region’s lottery, parents can direct any questions to their campus representative here or send an email to 


Responding to Your Offer 

Q: Do I have to be present at the lottery for my child to be accepted? 
A: No. You and your child do not need to be present at the lottery to be accepted. The lottery is conducted online via STREAM, our enrollment software system, and you will be contacted regarding your application status. 

Q: How do I accept my offer?  
A: In your lottery notification, you will be linked to your STREAM account to accept or decline your offer. When you accept your offer, all other applications will be removed from the system. For example, if you applied to IDEA Eastside and IDEA Carver in San Antonio and you receive and accept an offer at IDEA Eastside, your IDEA Carver application will be removed from the system. After you accept your offer, your new school will contact you with next steps in the enrollment process, including information regarding registration and Welcome to IDEA, our campus orientation event. 

Q: How do I decline my offer? 
A: If you choose not to accept your offer, you must decline the offer in STREAM. Declining removes your application to that school from our system and awards the open seat to the next student on the selection list. However, declining one offer does not remove or cancel applications you may have submitted to other IDEA schools.   

Q: If my child is accepted, will he/she have to participate in the lottery each year?  
A: No, students who are accepted through the lottery will be enrolled in the school and be able to remain there in future years up until graduation. Parents must let the school know that they plan to return each year during a re-registration process that happens outside of lottery.  



Q: If my child is not chosen during the lottery and is placed on the waitlist, what are the chances that they will be accepted later? 
A: If a student is not admitted immediately during the lottery, they are automatically placed on the waitlist. Throughout the spring and summer months, spots may become available. Enrollment is offered to the next student on the waitlist as soon as we have notice of withdrawal. If a parent declines an offer, we move to the next student on the waitlist until the position is filled. 

Q: If my child does not get selected at the lottery or throughout the year, do I have to apply again? 
A: Yes. If your child has not been admitted into an IDEA school by August 31, 2021, you must submit a new application. Applications for the 2022-2023 school year will be accepted beginning September 1, 2021.    


Transfers & Siblings 

Q: If my child is accepted at the lottery, can I transfer to another IDEA school? 
A: You must complete an application in STREAM indicating your new school preference for the following school year. Please contact your current campus if you are interested in completing a transfer.   

Q: After my child has attended an IDEA school for one year, how can I transfer to another IDEA school? 
A: You must complete an application in STREAM indicating your new school preference for the 2021-2022 school year. Please contact your current campus if you are interested in completing a transfer.    

Q: If my child is enrolled, will his/her younger siblings also be able to attend that school? 
A: If a younger sibling is interested in attending an IDEA Public School, they must submit an application to be entered into the lottery at the appropriate time like all other applicants. Siblings will receive preference in the lottery process. 


We are so excited to welcome our new families to IDEA Public Schools, starting in August of 2021! If you accept your offer, you can look forward to receiving details from your campus about upcoming campus events such as Orientation, Culture Camp, and Meet the Teacher. 

If you have additional questions about the lottery process, please review our additional Lottery FAQ or contact After you’ve accepted an offer, all further questions can be directed to your new campus. Thank you for your interest in joining the IDEA Team & Family! 

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