Private School or move to a more Expensive House with "Better Schools"

Magaly - posted on 05/20/2014 ( 5 moms have responded )

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Hello, I have been in this dilemma for over a year and I need help.
My daughter started Kindergarten in a public school but we didn't like it, so for 1st grade we move her into a christian private school that we fell in love! Now the problem comes as private schools are not cheap, the tuition is around $8,000-$12,000 a year, where we could afford it but when my second boy starts going to school this is when we are going to be in a tight budget.
So we are not sure if we should stay in our house that we like and we owe $145,000 or move to a more expensive house worth $240,000 for better schools. I'm hoping these are better schools as they have scores between 8-10 out of 10 and with good reviews from greatschools.org.
Has anybody been in this same situation and what do you think is better?
Thanks!

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 05/20/2014

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How about doing what is not only best for your kids, but also for your financial situation. You owe almost $150K on your current home, and you are contemplating purchasing another home for almost $250K...and yet you said in the sentence before that " private schools are not cheap, the tuition is around $8,000-$12,000 a year, where we could afford it but when my second boy starts going to school this is when we are going to be in a tight budget" Why make your budget any tighter?

If you don't like the closest public school, and don't want to dish out $25K per year for two private school tuitions (which, to be honest, is a ridiculous amount in my opinion), then investigate other schools in the area in which you currently reside.

Honestly? I don't see how adding another $100K to your home's value is going to be any different, payment wise, than sending two kids to private school. In my way of thinking, you're either going to be paying $2000/month for 2 kids to go to school, or you're going to be paying $2000 or more a month in new house payment...

Ev - posted on 05/20/2014

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I have to agree with Guest on that assessment of schools. You can not go solely on the scores they have on those places online without checking them out first hand. Those scores are not only based on the things that she has said but they are also based on their testing scores. And those test scores where the kids take those standardized tests mean nothing because those tests do not even begin to show the potential the kids are going to have. As for a Christian School, not all those are what they are cracked up to be. You should be not only looking for the things the first poster talked of but in a Christian School you need to make sure that there is accrediation as well because if they are not accredited by the state you live in that might make things difficult should you have to change to public schools. There is so much more to schools than test ratings, scores and so on. You need to be proactive to make sure you get what you want for your kids and their education.

Guest - posted on 05/20/2014

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Does your district have a Change of Assignment process?
In our district, if one lives in a home zoned for a low performing school, they can fill out an application for a change of school assignment to a school of their choice (they get to pick 3 schools). They are then entered into a lottery system with their first choice receiving priority. If you are in the US almost every school district has a process for this, but it may be difficult if the better schools are over crowded.

Honestly, I wouldn't sell my house and move based on greatschools ratings alone. It could still be a poor fit for your particular children, and now you are in a more expensive home and can't afford the private school tuition. If you are really serious about moving, I would go to the potential schools and schedule an appointment with the principal or assistant principals to tour the school and conduct an in depth interview. Look for similarities and differences in the way they run their classrooms, social curriculum, and other programs. Sometimes the higher ratings can only be chalked up to wealthier parents (wealthier parents have more time to spend with their children on homework and other activities that promote higher test scores. Children of wealthier parents are also rarely unfed or worried about other social or economic issues, which can also cause a dramatic drop in test scores and increase in anti social behaviors, which are rated on greatschools). If that is the case, the new school may be no improvement over the old because your situation will not be altered. Also interview teachers, sit in on classes, and look for differences in the ways the new schools deal with issues that made you unhappy in the last school.

If I were in your shoes, I don't know that I would risk it. Instead, I would look into buying a lower priced home to free up more money for tuition.

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Arusha - posted on 09/27/2016

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I was in a similiar situation and I chose to move to a private school. I felt that my daughter wasn't getting the attention that she needed in a public school so I wanted her to go to a private school. We ended up at York School http://www.yorkschool.com/
It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. My daughter transformed into a shy teeenager to a very confident young lady. She wasn't able to raise her hand in class and now she gives presentations to groups. The increase in attention was key to her growth and I'm glad that I moved her to a private school.

Magaly - posted on 05/20/2014

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Thanks for the message. The only option that I know is that every year they open spots on a few schools where you register your kid and you are in on a first come. The downside is that you have to re apply each year and they might not have spots one year. I really appreciate your advice as I didn't see it that way, I thought the higher the ratings the better and yes those schools are good because the houses are in the most expensive in the area.

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