Ombudsman's Office
Frequently Asked Questions

I am new to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community. How do I locate my child's home school?

Each student is assigned a home school based on residential address. To locate your school, click here. If you have questions or need your transportation zone, email your address to planning or call 980-343-6246.

How do I enroll my child in a CMS school option or magnet school?

You may apply for a seat by submitting an application online. If you are new to CMS and enrolled your student(s) before Jan. 24, 2017, you will be mailed a letter with your student's ID number and PIN. If your child is a current CMS student, you will receive a letter with your student's ID number and PIN from your current school. Visit CMSchoice.org for more information.


How are seats in CMS School Choice allocated?

All available CMS School Choice seats are allocated using three socioeconomic status (SES) categories (high, medium and low) to achieve the greatest socioeconomic diversity possible at each school. Each student will have priority in one of these categories based on home address and data provided by families during the lottery application.

Can I submit a second lottery application if I participated in the first lottery?

Yes. Families may participate in the second lottery application process, even if they have previously participated in the first lottery. However, the first lottery application and wait list position will be automatically voided. Participation in the second lottery is usually the best option for families who are new to the district and/or who did not participate in the first lottery.

How will my child get to/from school if they are assigned to a CMS School Choice seat?

CMS offers common and shuttle bus stops. You can also transport your child to and from school. Shuttle stops are established based on interest from parents from the school. For a complete list of stops and to view the map, please visit CMSchoice.org.

How do I submit a transfer/reassignment request?

All transfer/reassignment requests must be submitted online. You may submit your request for transfer/reassignment to another school here.

What factors does Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools consider for a reassignment/transfer request?

Board of Education Policy JFAC outlines criteria to be considered for families requesting reassignment and transfer. A family may request reassignment or transfer based on any of the following:

• Medical necessity of child (Specific information must be submitted to accompany a medically related request. The information is reviewed by an independent panel of physicians.)

• Child of CMS staff

• Extreme hardship (Extreme hardship includes instances where the safety or welfare of the student is at imminent risk, such as documented cases of bullying. It may also include the unexpected or sudden closure of before and/or after school childcare that necessitates a change in childcare arrangements. Parents must provide documentation of such situations. Extreme hardship does not include medical necessity.)

• Child attends a school eligible for the School Performance Priority (SPP), meaning the state has designated the school as low-performing for three consecutive years

• Child attends a school with a state letter grade of D or F

• The parent is requesting reassignment or transfer to a school with available space

All requests are subject to space available.

How do I apply for pre-kindergarten?

To apply for the 2018-2019 school year, your child must be age 4 on or before Aug. 31, 2018, and live in Mecklenburg County. You may schedule a screening appointment by calling 980-343-5950 (English) or 980-343-5138 (Spanish) or by clicking here. For more information, click here.

How do parents access special education services?

Each school follows a systematic process for identifying students with disabilities. Referrals for evaluation come from a variety of sources. Parents, teachers and others can refer a student to the school-based assistance team. This team reviews the student's current progress, observes the student in the classroom and talks with parents and teachers, then develops a set of interventions designed to address the student's needs. If these interventions are not successful, the team may refer the student to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team of parents, teachers and administrators. The IEP team meets, discusses areas of concern and determines a course of action that may include a battery of assessments. Using North Carolina policies for Exceptional Children, the IEP team uses the assessment information to determine eligibility. Services are based on the needs of the student, not on a category.

To contact a member of the Exceptional Children staff, click here.

Do I need to complete a meal application if my child attends a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school?

No, if all of your school-aged children attend a CEP participating CMS school. However, you must complete a meal application for school-aged children in your household who do not attend a CEP CMS school. For participating sites, visit the School Nutrition Services web page by clicking here.


Are all students allowed to participate in the national school lunch and breakfast programs?

Yes. Students may participate at different benefit levels.

How is a student's benefit level determined?

School Nutrition Services staff reviews applications and eligibility is based on United States Department of Agriculture guidelines. Students may also be granted free meal benefits through direct certification, which occurs when CMS obtains documentation from the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (DSS) to determine the children who are members of a household currently certified to receive food stamps or TANF benefits. These students  are eligible for free meal benefits.

How can I access breakfast and lunch meals for my child in the summer?

CMS offers several meal options for students during the summer. A list of school sites will be posted on the School Nutrition Services page of the CMS website. Any child 18 or under may receive meals at any of these sites. Children do not have to be enrolled in a CMS school to receive a free meal. Hours of meal service will be posted as well.

Can I track my child's school bus?

Yes. CMS families with children who ride a school bus are now able to use a free bus-tracking system. Families may click here to download the Here Comes the Bus app and have access to real-time location of their child's bus on a map as well as scheduled and actual arrival times at their assigned stop and school.

My child's bus has not shown up and/or is consistently late; who can I call? 

Please contact the Transportation Call Center at 980-343-6715 to be put in contact with the Transportation Area Office responsible for your child's school. Please be patient at the beginning of the school year due to the number of changes in schedules and the number of calls being handled in the central transportation office and area offices.

You may also send questions or concerns related to bus service to transportation@cms.k12.nc.us.

What can I do if I believe my child's bus stop is unsafe?

You may complete this form to notify the Transportation Department if you believe your child's stop is unsafe. An area manager will review your request and follow up with you as soon as possible.

Can I request an alternate bus stop for my child?

Yes. You may complete this online form to request a stop at a different location from the one where your child is currently assigned (e.g., request a stop at a daycare center, ASEP program or to return back to the neighborhood stop).

Does every school offer the After School Enrichment Program (ASEP) – before- and/or after-school care?

No. For a list of ASEP sites, click here.

What's the process for reporting bullying?

Please contact the school's bullying prevention liaison. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools also launched a new digital platform that allows anonymous reporting. The platform, accessible on each school's website as well as the district's home page, offers a user-friendly way for students, staff and the public to report bullying concerns.

How can I access Board of Education policies?

Click here to read policies created by the Board of Education.

Where can I find the agendas for Board meetings or review minutes from previous meetings?

Board of Education agendas and meeting minutes are accessible through BoardDocs®. Click here to access BoardDocs®.

Can anyone speak at a Board meeting?

The Board of Education holds regular monthly meetings, open to the public, on the second and fourth Tuesdays at 6 p.m. Citizens have the opportunity to address the Board of Education at the first regular Board meeting of each month. Speakers will be given up to three minutes. Depending on the number of speakers, the time to speak may be reduced. Sign up to speak by calling Board Services (980-343-5139) and selecting option 4 by noon the day of the meeting or sign up at the dais in the meeting room prior to the call to order. 

Meetings are held at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 600 East Fourth St., unless indicated otherwise on the meeting schedule. Live broadcasts of regular Board meetings air on CMS-TV Cable 3 and are video-streamed live; videos of past Board meetings may be viewed by clicking the archive link here.

When is the first day of the 2018-2019 academic year for CMS schools on the traditional calendar? Where can I find information about holidays?

Aug. 27 is the first day of school. Click here to view the 2018-2019 academic calendar.

Can a community group rent a CMS school or an athletic field?

Yes. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education encourages the use of school buildings and grounds by the community for educational, recreational, civic and cultural activities to the extent possible under public school laws and regulations. Accordingly, community use of school buildings and grounds are permitted if the uses do not conflict with the use of public school buildings and grounds for public school purposes and activities. For more information about Community Use of Schools, click here.

What do I need to do to volunteer in a CMS school?

Click here to register as a CMS volunteer.

If I have a concern at my child's school or with a district department, where should I go?

  • We encourage you to first discuss your concern with the teacher, staff person or the principal of your child's school. Many concerns can be resolved at the school level. Click here for a list of schools.
  • If still unresolved, contact the learning community office that serves the school. Click here for a list of learning community offices and their schools.
  • Individuals may contact the ombudsman at any point during the course of a school-related concern. The ombudsman will help determine the best steps to address and resolve the concern.

Can private businesses donate to CMS?

Yes. The CMS Foundation leverages and manages private dollars to help the district achieve its strategic goals. The foundation works to ensure that private investments have a meaningful, sustainable impact on public education in our community. For more information about the foundation, click here.

How is the foundation funded?

The CMS Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is primarily sustained through private fundraising efforts. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools contributes to the foundation's work by providing office space, supplies, and technology and administrative support.

Why does the school district need a foundation?

Public funding alone is not sufficient to provide our students and educators the opportunities they need and deserve to be successful. While CMS receives funding through tax dollars, the vast majority of these funds are restricted (approximately 70 percent of all funds) and can only be used in specific categories such as salaries, supplies and facilities. This is why support from the philanthropic community is so critical. Private investments can be used for more than just meeting basic needs. They can seed innovative ideas and help take proven programs to scale.

How does the foundation decide what initiatives to fund? The CMS Foundation works closely with CMS educators to understand the district's most urgent strategic priorities and identify where private investment can help accelerate progress.