The Anchorage School District lottery has opened. Here’s what parents need to know.

The Anchorage school lottery has opened for applications.

Parents who want to enroll their children in an alternative, charter or immersion language program next school year should apply, according to the Anchorage School District. So should any parents who want to send their children to a neighborhood school that's not the one they're zoned for.

"ASD has boundary exemption requests in and out of every school in the District," Catherine Esary, district spokeswoman, said in an email. "There are certainly many academic choices for students and families, but a neighborhood school is an excellent choice, too."

The online lottery applications are due by 5 p.m. March 22, and parents can apply for as many schools as they'd like.

Parents will find out March 30 whether their child secured a spot in the school they wanted or is on the wait list, the district said.

The selection for spots is largely random. However, there are two exceptions: Students who have siblings at a school get preference for that school in the lottery, as do students who live in the attendance area for a neighborhood school and want to go to that school's alternative program.

Another important note: While the school district provides students with transportation to the neighborhood school they're zoned for, it does not provide school buses to lottery choices. (There are just a few narrow exceptions to that policy, Esary said.)

Some schools are tougher to get into via lottery than others.

Here are the three Anchorage schools that currently have the longest waiting lists:

•  Polaris K-12 School has 965 students on its wait list. The school only enrolls about 480 students.

• Aquarian Charter School has 603 students on its wait list. It enrolls 385 students.

• Chugach Optional Elementary School has 524 students on its wait list. It enrolls 259 students.

By Friday, the school district said it had already received 1,177 lottery applications for 621 students.

The school district will also hold a second lottery in late July for next school year.

Find more information about the how the district's lottery process works at

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that students who qualify for the district's Highly Gifted programs receive transportation to those programs. While that is true for elementary school, there is not transportation for students in middle school and high school to those programs. Highly Gifted is a qualification program, not a lottery program.

Tegan Hanlon

Tegan Hanlon was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News between 2013 and 2019. She now reports for Alaska Public Media.