St. Paul has open enrollment so a child can apply to any public school they want to. If the child is in elementary school, the gifted and talented school has standards that the child must meet, and then they still might not get in because of competition. If your local public elementary school is an area school, like Horace Mann in Highland Park, your child can automatically go there with no application. If your child wants to attend an elementary magnet school, an application is necessary and there is more competition. For middle and high school, Highland Park is the area school but a child can apply to any school in the city; kids from the area around a school get preference, but once spaces are filled at a school, a lottery system kicks in and then kids will be selected from outside the area. So, if a Highland kid wants to go to Central, they'll have to apply and take their chances. If a Highland kid wants to go to Highland, they just put Highland as their first choice and that's it - they're in. As for bussing, if a kid gets accepted to a school outside their local area, bussing is provided but if they have to be bussed across town, be prepared for early mornings and late afternoons.