Good School District or Private School?

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TXatty
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Good School District or Private School?

Post by TXatty » Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:58 pm

My wife and I are currently looking at buying a house in the next year or so, and we are debating whether to spend more on a house in order to live in a good school district or to find a nice neighborhood that doesn't necessarily zone to a good school district (in which case we would look at a private school). I'm sure we aren't the only ones that have ever dealt with this decision. Any thoughts? My wife is currently pregnant, so it'll still be a while before we have kid(s) in school.

Here's the relevant info:

28M - 175k salary plus bonus (don't factor bonuses into our decisions)
30F - 140k salary plus bonus (both attorneys, wife plans to keep working after having children)
Houston, Texas
$180kk saved up in liquid cash
Roth IRAs of ~45k (max each year for both)
401ks of ~ 140k (max each year for both)
HSAs of ~ 10k (max each year for both)
Other Investments of ~60k
No student loans
No debt other than a car loan of approximately 10k (~2% interest)

Current Monthly expenses are around 6k with a monthly take home of about 14k
We want to live in the city so we don't have to spend a lot of time commuting
Places to buy in the good school districts would probably cost us around 600-700k for a 3br 2bath
Places in the not as good school districts would probably run around 400k-500k for a similar type of home
Private school would run about 20k per year per kid We hope to stay in this house for around 10 years
We both grew up in solidly middle class families and both went to public schools, so the private school aspect is new to us.

What do you think makes the most sense in our particular situation? We are both attorneys at law firms. If we move away from working for law firms, our salaries would probably be 75% of what they are now, although neither one of us intend to leave at the moment.

Thanks in advance.

livesoft
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by livesoft » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:03 pm

I think in Houston, the commuting times would be way more important than the school district. So what would the commuting times to work AND school be?

I know Houston families that have done public and that have done private. It seems commuting times and expected resale values are the most important location things. Another important REALLY thing is propensity to flood.

In general though, nice neighborhoods do zone to good schools. That's practically by definition.

BTW, just because you have a kid, does not mean you need to buy a house right away. Give yourself 3 to 5 years for that.
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bottlecap
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by bottlecap » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:06 pm

Private school means smaller class sizes and thus more tailored instruction, usually.

If that's not important to you, I'd be inclined to put that money into the home and take advantage of the good public school.

JT

nps
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by nps » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:10 pm

How many kids do you plan on having?

delamer
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by delamer » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:14 pm

In the long run if you are planning on having more than one child then financially it makes the most sense to go with the house with the better public schools. However, you did mention that you are planning on only staying in the house for 10 years. What is your plan after that?

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:18 pm

There is nothing wrong with public schools. I vote for a decent home in a good school district.
If anything, the property will be attractive to future home buyers. Not saying the property value will appreciate or even hold, but that most folks would send their kids to public schools. Those who send their kids to private schools do so because there is a specific need not met by public schools, they have money to pay for it or they believe that private schooling may offer certain advantages for their child. The vast, vast majority of people send their kids to public schools paid for with your tax dollars.
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Bondman
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by Bondman » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:21 pm

What is "in the city"? There are 3br/2bath homes near Meyerland in the low 300's that are zoned to decent elementary and Bellaire high school. It is pretty close in, maybe 15-20 minutes to downtown.

stan1
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by stan1 » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:30 pm

I think you will have the financial means to make either decision you've laid out, or the third option which is to buy the more expensive house and send your kids to private school anyways. Parents often find out that having several good choices is best and that each child's needs will change over time. Parents move kids back and forth between public and private schools for many reasons: curriculum, teachers, peer groups, sports, extra curricular activities, etc. If your child is destined to win a nobel prize I don't think the choice of whether she goes to public or private schools will decide her fate. Some kids you'll need to try several strategies to find one that works. A close friend sent their son to a military prep school for a year because he had minor discipline problems an elite private school couldn't (or wouldn't) deal with. He didn't gain a lot academically that year but he came back with an improved ability to focus, follow rules, and succeed in a structured environment that he wasn't getting in other public or private schools. My point is: flexibility and sensing what's right for your child.

Agree commute time is very important in quality of life decisions. Being under 15 minutes from home, work, and school is a very different work/life balance than being 60 minutes away. If you work close to school it is a lot easier to participate in activities throughout the day by taking a long lunch or dropping by between meetings.

So to answer the question I'd go for the location that puts both jobs, home, a good public, and a good private school within 15 minutes of each other (if you can do that).

Dicast
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by Dicast » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:42 pm

My wife and I had this same discussion about a year ago. We settled on buying a more expensive house in a nice school district. You can always sell your house when the children are out of school. You cannot sell your child's education for anything. $20k a year for 10 years with just one child is already $200k (the difference between the different areas). Give it compounding and additional 4 more years and I'm sure your child would rather have a huge college fund than a private school education. If you plan to have a second child I think the math is even easier.

I don't think private school is necessary if there is an a good public school. Both my wife an I went to public schools and are both physicians.

Commute times do matter.

drawpoker
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by drawpoker » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:43 pm

Be very, very careful here on this.

The way the world is now is not like it used to be -
What is now considered very good/excellent school district for its public schools can go downhill fast. In the space of the five, six, seven year window you are looking at. For reasons too numerous to go into here - but = If both of you are attorneys, er, you can, um, get the idea.
Private schools There are 2 kinds when you get right down to brass tacks.

The really good ones - Yes, are vastly superior to the local public schools, and will deliver a top notch elementary and secondary education. Very solid. But those come with high price tag.

The other kind - private schools that came into existence solely because of desegregation orders from the past = many still hanging on today. Only trying to morph themselves into something they aren't. Quality. :shock:
Whether church-affiliated or not, if you dig closely, you will discover most deliver sub-par results, and are not a real good choice for a college-prep education route.

Buying a house primarily because of the school district that you will not need for 5 years or more - strikes me as a bad bet. Hate to sound cynical, but I have just seen Too Much in recent years.
Have a backup plan if you buy = investigate that there is at least one private school nearby = top notch in all respects, and you have the resources set aside to pay for it.

LibertyLover
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by LibertyLover » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:55 pm

Take a look at public charter schools as well. If they are set up like where I am your tax dollars follow you to the school so tuition is paid. They often have smaller class size and less restrictive more innovative teaching methods.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of ... in_Houston

TXatty
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by TXatty » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:15 pm

livesoft wrote:I think in Houston, the commuting times would be way more important than the school district. So what would the commuting times to work AND school be?

I know Houston families that have done public and that have done private. It seems commuting times and expected resale values are the most important location things. Another important REALLY thing is propensity to flood.

In general though, nice neighborhoods do zone to good schools. That's practically by definition.

BTW, just because you have a kid, does not mean you need to buy a house right away. Give yourself 3 to 5 years for that.
We are looking to keep the commute times at around 20 minutes or less in peak traffic (generally speaking), so within 5 or 6 miles or so. I'm not deadset on buying either, but it's hard to convince the wife to continue living in a 900 sqft apartment for 8 or 9 years (using the upper end of your range) when we are making 300k+ and have a lot of money in the bank (or at least by that point we would). I'm not interested in renting a house for 3 or 4k a month. She doesn't have many other requests about money stuff, so I'm willing to happily go with her on this one.

TXatty
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by TXatty » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:16 pm

bottlecap wrote:Private school means smaller class sizes and thus more tailored instruction, usually.

If that's not important to you, I'd be inclined to put that money into the home and take advantage of the good public school.

JT
It's obviously important, but at the same time I feel like public school provides some advantages that you don't necessarily get at private schools. There's just so many different factors to weigh.

TXatty
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by TXatty » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:17 pm

nps wrote:How many kids do you plan on having?
Most likely two, three tops. If it ends up being three we would likely move to a place with a good school district before the 3rd one starts school.

TXatty
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by TXatty » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:18 pm

delamer wrote:In the long run if you are planning on having more than one child then financially it makes the most sense to go with the house with the better public schools. However, you did mention that you are planning on only staying in the house for 10 years. What is your plan after that?

10 years off is too far to really have any sort of concrete plan. I figure by then we'd probably be looking for a different house, for whatever reason.

TXatty
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by TXatty » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:21 pm

Bondman wrote:What is "in the city"? There are 3br/2bath homes near Meyerland in the low 300's that are zoned to decent elementary and Bellaire high school. It is pretty close in, maybe 15-20 minutes to downtown.
Preferably just west or northwest of downtown. We have family in Spring, so it helps being a little further north. Meyerland does seem like a good value though.

WildBill
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by WildBill » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:23 pm

Here are some things to consider from my own experience plus experience of living in Houston plus having kids plus observing the multiple schooling/commuting follies of colleagues

- If you chose a private school, someone is going to have to get the kid(s) there. And pick them up. For many years. If the school is at any commuting distance, good luck and God bless you. Houston traffic, as you know, is unforgiving.

-If you are considering some of the more prestigious private schools in Houston, be aware that acceptance of an application is chancy. Several of the more selective schools have acceptance rates like Harvards, i.e. they accept below 10% of applicants. Don't assume you will be able to get the kids in if you are looking at schools of this sort.

For this and many other reasons I would not rush into buying a house. Give your decision lots of thought and take counsel from friends and colleagues who have been in your position.
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TXatty
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by TXatty » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:24 pm

Dicast wrote:My wife and I had this same discussion about a year ago. We settled on buying a more expensive house in a nice school district. You can always sell your house when the children are out of school. You cannot sell your child's education for anything. $20k a year for 10 years with just one child is already $200k (the difference between the different areas). Give it compounding and additional 4 more years and I'm sure your child would rather have a huge college fund than a private school education. If you plan to have a second child I think the math is even easier.

I don't think private school is necessary if there is an a good public school. Both my wife an I went to public schools and are both physicians.

Commute times do matter.
This is how we are leaning as well. We both went to relatively middling public schools and are now both successful attorneys. We are both leaning towards public schools, but we are just wanting to make sure we adequately explore all options.

TXatty
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by TXatty » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:26 pm

drawpoker wrote:Be very, very careful here on this.

The way the world is now is not like it used to be -
What is now considered very good/excellent school district for its public schools can go downhill fast. In the space of the five, six, seven year window you are looking at. For reasons too numerous to go into here - but = If both of you are attorneys, er, you can, um, get the idea.
Private schools There are 2 kinds when you get right down to brass tacks.

The really good ones - Yes, are vastly superior to the local public schools, and will deliver a top notch elementary and secondary education. Very solid. But those come with high price tag.

The other kind - private schools that came into existence solely because of desegregation orders from the past = many still hanging on today. Only trying to morph themselves into something they aren't. Quality. :shock:
Whether church-affiliated or not, if you dig closely, you will discover most deliver sub-par results, and are not a real good choice for a college-prep education route.

Buying a house primarily because of the school district that you will not need for 5 years or more - strikes me as a bad bet. Hate to sound cynical, but I have just seen Too Much in recent years.
Have a backup plan if you buy = investigate that there is at least one private school nearby = top notch in all respects, and you have the resources set aside to pay for it.
Solid advice. I appreciate it. A lot can definitely change between now and then. We are both pretty discerning, so we try to evaluate whether the area is on the up or has already peaked, but you just never know.

livesoft
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by livesoft » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:31 pm

TXatty wrote:We are looking to keep the commute times at around 20 minutes or less in peak traffic (generally speaking), so within 5 or 6 miles or so. I'm not deadset on buying either, but it's hard to convince the wife to continue living in a 900 sqft apartment for 8 or 9 years (using the upper end of your range) when we are making 300k+ and have a lot of money in the bank (or at least by that point we would). I'm not interested in renting a house for 3 or 4k a month. She doesn't have many other requests about money stuff, so I'm willing to happily go with her on this one.
So there are other ways to solve the 900 sq ft issue such as renting a larger place (apartment, condo, townhome, house).

20 minutes or less in peak could restrict the distance to under 3 miles. :) My rule was always live within 3 miles of my job. Good schools were closer.

I lived for many years inside the Loop, but did not have kids then.
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atlantaguy123
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by atlantaguy123 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:18 am

Don't underestimate how cool it is to have most of the kid's friends in your neighborhood or at least very close by. We opted for public school and are delighted to keep the taxi routes for all those playdates close and easy. We have friends who went the private school route. They are very happy with the school, but the kids friends are spread out all over the city and running a friend over for a short playdate is a real pain for them. Also, having the kids in school in your neighborhood really adds to a sense of community in your local area. Our public school is not perfect, but free is good and I hear no school is perfect. I would be a lot more upset about imperfect teachers if I was paying 30k a year for tuition.

foreverihope
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by foreverihope » Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:46 am

Public school today are being raided too heavily by charter schools(strip mall middle school),with your age and income would buy the house you like most for you and the commute, to me if your asking this question now before kids odds are you will have em in private in the future.Would love to say public will be the same as when you went to school but the numbers of new charters are depleting the public schools too quickly to think it will change.

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HomerJ
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by HomerJ » Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:51 am

Good school district, because

(1) You get to live in a nicer house during the next 10-15 years while your kids are going to those public schools
(2) You get your money back (mostly) when you sell the house after the kids are grown. Money spent on private school is just GONE.

Just as good an education, at a fraction of the cost.

It's a no-brainer if the schools are at all comparable, and the public schools in the rich areas of town are usually just as good.

Texanbybirth
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by Texanbybirth » Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:58 am

We bought in a good school district even though we plan to homeschool because we assumed the re-sale value will be better than homes in a worse school district. I'm not sure if we'll even ever sell this house, but at least people are banging down the doors to get into this school district now. Like you said, who can predict the future?

That being said, I'd get the best education you can for your kids. It's certainly not money "down the drain" as others have alluded to. You might have to stomach a little tougher commute to do that, but that's what you've signed up for by having the little humans! :D

Rupert
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by Rupert » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:12 am

When you can afford either option without stretching or sacrificing your retirement savings, which you clearly can, then I think the intangible factors become more important, e.g., commute time, social issues. Also, and you probably don't really realize this yet since you don't yet have kids, having one parent near the school your kids attend, wherever it is, during the day is important. Things come up: kids get sick and have to be picked up immediately, the kindergarten musical is scheduled for 10 in the morning, your carpool driver is sick, your kid left something she needs at home and someone has to run go get it and take it to school in the middle of the day, etc.

TXatty
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by TXatty » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:17 am

Rupert wrote:When you can afford either option without stretching or sacrificing your retirement savings, which you clearly can, then I think the intangible factors become more important, e.g., commute time, social issues. Also, and you probably don't really realize this yet since you don't yet have kids, having one parent near the school your kids attend, wherever it is, during the day is important. Things come up: kids get sick and have to be picked up immediately, the kindergarten musical is scheduled for 10 in the morning, your carpool driver is sick, your kid left something she needs at home and someone has to run go get it and take it to school in the middle of the day, etc.

Commute time and general proximity is the one thing (maybe selfishly so) that we are not willing to sacrifice on. We both work hard, and the last thing we want to do is have to spend 45 minutes to an 1:15 minutes driving home every day. It would make the children suffer in other areas if we had to do that. We have been leaning towards public schools since we believe the educational experience would be similar. Even if it is a bit lesser educational wise, the social aspects of public school would outweigh it, in our opinions.

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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by itstoomuch » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:22 am

IMO,
As the core areas are gentrified, schools will get better.
As the core areas are de gentrified, schools will get worse.

Millennials and us old folks are moving back to the city for its efficiency.
From a very cursory view, SEA/PDX will have very good schools in 5 years. {exception: if Millennials do not decide that the suburbs is the place for raising kids. }

There are good and bad publics and privates.
YMMV
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TXatty
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by TXatty » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:25 am

itstoomuch wrote:IMO,
As the core areas are gentrified, schools will get better.
As the core areas are de gentrified, schools will get worse.

Millennials and us old folks are moving back to the city for its efficiency.
From a very cursory view, SEA/PDX will have very good schools in 5 years. {exception: if Millennials do not decide that the suburbs is the place for raising kids. }

There are good and bad publics and privates.
YMMV
Excuse my ignorance, but what is SEA/PDX?

itstoomuch
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by itstoomuch » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:26 am

seattle/portland or
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by Afty » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:32 am

I think labeling schools as "good" or "bad" is too coarse. A lot of it revolves around your kids, their interests and needs. Are your kids into science and math? Or maybe they're budding artists? Do they do well in a large group, or do they need more personal attention? And what if your kids end up with a special need? A friend's daughter has a vision disability, so they moved to a town that provides top-notch special education services. The town they lived in at the time, which had a reputation for excellent schools, was not so excellent when it came to special education.

None of this is stuff you can predict until your kids are approaching school age, and at that point it's much more than a pure financial decision. I guess if I were you and were really set on buying a house now, I would buy in the better school district and hope that works out, but be open to sending your kids to a private school when the time comes.

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LiveSimple
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by LiveSimple » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:36 am

A well school district, makes the home selling process a breeze, even when the economy tanks.

afan
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by afan » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:47 am

I don't think you can make a meaningful comparison this far in the abstract. Private schools vary a lot. That is part of their appeal. Subject o getting admitted, they give you a range of choices about what they emphasize. Class size is usually small compared to most public schools, but that can vary as well. The private schools may be religious, or not. They may be very traditional or very experimental.

Public schools will conform more closely to what a local school board mandates. That might be good or it might be bad.
If you think you know enough about your children to know what environment would best suit them, then you have something to go on in picking the public schools in an area vs specific private schools. For your first child, as yet unborn, that does not help.

Do not get too distracted by test scores and such. Any school, public or private, filled with the children of highly educated highly paid professionals is going to look good on those measures. The kids will have high IQ scores and their test scores will be much better than national averages all the way from elementary through high school. Yes, private schools with such families can cater more to those sorts of students, but so will the public schools in an area like that. One limitation might be if you are inside the city then your public schools may not have the same ability to tailor programs to upper middle class kids of educated parents the way the public schools in a small town- say a bedroom community- might.

I think it is true that good schools raise real estate prices, but I am not sure how that would work if you are looking at schools in a big city. The same issue that they have to function within the guidance and budget of a much larger entity and might not get the flexibility to give kids the kind of education their parents expect.

The points about friends are definitely true. Unless the local geography of Houston puts most of the educated upper middle class families in the same area, such that all the private school kids live in the same region, you will get more neighborhood kids for friends if you go public. To an extent, you can compensate with extracurricular activities nearby, but those school friends and school activities tend to dominate the children's lives.

And please do think about commuting, for your kids as well as yourself. An hour each way for school is a big drain on little ones.
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psteinx
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by psteinx » Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:09 pm

Evaluating schools, and choosing among different options, is very difficult.

If you try to research, you can fairly easily find differences in outcomes - school X's graduates have higher test scores, go to more prestigious colleges, etc. The problem is disentangling these outcomes from the inputs - highly educated, high income parents, whose kids, on average, have material advantages, stable homes, motivated parents, and likely, stronger genes (to the extent that IQ and the like is inherited).

You can look at other measures of resources devoted, per child, at the school, such as per pupil spending, student to teacher ratios, and the presence and quality of specific features such as science labs, athletic facilities, various forms of technology, and so on. But even here, it may be difficult to evaluate schools that are in the same ballpark. (Gross differences would likely be more obvious).

Since you have the income, find a house where the local public schools are at least "good enough" that you won't feel obligated to send your kids to private schools. But don't necessarily obsess about picking the house whose schools average a tenth of a point higher than those of a different house, especially if the latter is noticeably more attractive on other factors, including commute, price, etc.

CppCoder
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by CppCoder » Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:13 pm

TXatty wrote:
Bondman wrote: Preferably just west or northwest of downtown. We have family in Spring, so it helps being a little further north. Meyerland does seem like a good value though.
That's tough. The Heights doesn't have great schools, but you could look at Oak Forest or Garden Oaks. West U, Bellaire, and River Oaks all have good schools, but you might be stuck in a 1930s bungalow for $700k, if you could even find one that cheap. The Woodlands would be convenient to your family in Spring, but, as you know, your commute would be horrible. St. Johns is the best private school in that area of town. K-12 would cost you over $300k/child, probably well over that with inflation :shock: .

bigred77
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by bigred77 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:27 pm

If you have 2 kids in top Houston private schools at the same time your are looking at 40k -50k+ per year (and that's at today's prices).

HISD as whole leaves a lot to be desired, just like any other major city's public school system. There are a couple of good Elementary, JR High, and High schools within it though. You just have to buy into those specific school zones.

Buying into the River Oaks Elementary, Lanier Jr High, Lamar HS zone seems to be the best of the best in terms of public schools. Good luck getting into that zone with your budget though (not saying it's impossible, just tough).

West U is known for good schools. I'm not sure about the reputation of the schools in the Heights. Galleria area schools (St George Place/Briargrove elementary to Grady Jr high) are good until you get to high school. I hear the museum district, just South to SW of downtown, has good schools. There are also magnate programs you can look at.

With your income (and presumably working downtown) I would probably be looking at West U or the Museum district. It would be worth the premium in home price IMO. If you want newer construction for your dollar i would look around the galleria area as well, just outside the loop.

TXatty
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by TXatty » Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:30 pm

CppCoder wrote:
TXatty wrote:
Bondman wrote: Preferably just west or northwest of downtown. We have family in Spring, so it helps being a little further north. Meyerland does seem like a good value though.
That's tough. The Heights doesn't have great schools, but you could look at Oak Forest or Garden Oaks. West U, Bellaire, and River Oaks all have good schools, but you might be stuck in a 1930s bungalow for $700k, if you could even find one that cheap. The Woodlands would be convenient to your family in Spring, but, as you know, your commute would be horrible. St. Johns is the best private school in that area of town. K-12 would cost you over $300k/child, probably well over that with inflation :shock: .
What about just east and west of memorial park? Are those decentry options? The wife works by the galleria and I work downtown.

Texanbybirth
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by Texanbybirth » Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:33 pm

Holy cow, I thought $6k for our parish school was what people meant by expensive when they said "private school"! :shock: :moneybag

TXatty
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by TXatty » Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:35 pm

:annoyed
Texanbybirth wrote:Holy cow, I thought $6k for our parish school was what people meant by expensive when they said "private school"! :shock: :moneybag
20k plus per year is pretty standard.

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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by livesoft » Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:39 pm

TXatty wrote:What about just east and west of memorial park? Are those decentry options? The wife works by the galleria and I work downtown.
Surely, you have many friends and colleagues with children who can tell you about the schools in those locations.

A friend of mine decided to send their kid to a boarding school in New England for high school. :)
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HomerJ
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by HomerJ » Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:46 pm

TXatty wrote::annoyed
Texanbybirth wrote:Holy cow, I thought $6k for our parish school was what people meant by expensive when they said "private school"! :shock: :moneybag
20k plus per year is pretty standard.
Makes the decision pretty easy then for someone who is thinking about 2-3 kids...

TXatty
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by TXatty » Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:48 pm

livesoft wrote:
TXatty wrote:What about just east and west of memorial park? Are those decentry options? The wife works by the galleria and I work downtown.
Surely, you have many friends and colleagues with children who can tell you about the schools in those locations.

A friend of mine decided to send their kid to a boarding school in New England for high school. :)
It's more fun to ask random internet strangers :). Most of our friends don't have school-age children yet.

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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by drawpoker » Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:52 pm

TXatty wrote::annoyed
Texanbybirth wrote:Holy cow, I thought $6k for our parish school was what people meant by expensive when they said "private school"! :shock: :moneybag
20k plus per year is pretty standard.
Agree.

$6K a year ($500 a month) is what our local Christian private school charges. And they aren't hurting for business. For that $500, parents believe they escape the drugs, racial tension, sexual escapades, shaky teachers, and other well-known dangers of the public schools their kids would be exposed to.
But - they are also depriving their kids of the advanced STEM courses, labs, specialization, etc. that their kids really need to get into a top college and succeed in life.

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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by Texanbybirth » Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:53 pm

TXatty wrote::annoyed
Texanbybirth wrote:Holy cow, I thought $6k for our parish school was what people meant by expensive when they said "private school"! :shock: :moneybag
20k plus per year is pretty standard.
With three kids that's $60k/yr. You said you net about $8k/mo after expenses, so unless your mortgage becomes that much larger than your rent I don't see how it would affect anything. I know you don't want to factor in bonuses, and that's fine, but you can't completely ignore them especially since law bonuses can be pretty substantial I hear.

TXatty
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by TXatty » Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:01 pm

Texanbybirth wrote:
TXatty wrote::annoyed
Texanbybirth wrote:Holy cow, I thought $6k for our parish school was what people meant by expensive when they said "private school"! :shock: :moneybag
20k plus per year is pretty standard.
With three kids that's $60k/yr. You said you net about $8k/mo after expenses, so unless your mortgage becomes that much larger than your rent I don't see how it would affect anything. I know you don't want to factor in bonuses, and that's fine, but you can't completely ignore them especially since law bonuses can be pretty substantial I hear.
The mortgage would be a pretty substantial increase from our rent. We currently pay around $1,650 a month in rent. Based on my calculations and Houston's outrageous property taxes (over 2% per year, I believe, when factoring in homestead exemption), a 700k house with 20% down and a 30 year mortgage would be about $4,300 a month when factoring in insurance, taxes, and a rough estimate of $200 bucks a month HOA dues. Someone feel free to check my math on that. Of course, our salaries will hopefully increase (especially if one of us makes partner), while the mortgage (minus property tax increases) would stay the same.

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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by ytrewq » Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:06 pm

Once a child goes to either a top-10 ranked public school or a top-5 ranked private school, the outcome depends more on how much support, guidance, involvement parents have in child's academics and extra-curricular than what school has to offer. If you look at accomplished kids (Math/Science Competitions, National Merit Semi-finalists, kids excelling in Music, Sports, Arts etc.) from either public or private schools, they have one thing in common - parents willing to go extra mile for kids. Ir-respective of type of school attended, these days achieving excellence requires lot of monetary and time investment from parents - sports coaching, private music/performing arts lessons, specialized summer camps, travel for performances / competitions, internships etc. If you send kids to top ranked public school, you will have more money left to invest in these outside school activities. If you send kids to top ranked private schools, in addition to school fee, you will still have to invest in these outside school activities. Based on your financial situation you can decide which options works best for you.

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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by alfaspider » Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:23 pm

Dicast wrote:My wife and I had this same discussion about a year ago. We settled on buying a more expensive house in a nice school district. You can always sell your house when the children are out of school. You cannot sell your child's education for anything. $20k a year for 10 years with just one child is already $200k (the difference between the different areas). Give it compounding and additional 4 more years and I'm sure your child would rather have a huge college fund than a private school education. If you plan to have a second child I think the math is even easier.

I don't think private school is necessary if there is an a good public school. Both my wife an I went to public schools and are both physicians.

Commute times do matter.
This. I would look at Spring Branch-zoned schools. The core-memorial area middle and high schools (the ones that really matter) have been good schools for decades, and given property values and the inherently desirable nature of the area, are almost guaranteed to remain good schools over the long term. River Oaks or West U if you really want to live inside 610.

The only private schools that are solidly better than the good Spring Branch schools are St. Johns, Kinkaid, and a few others that are debatable. Those schools are both approaching $30k (and you WILL be hit up for all kinds of other donations and other expenses) and are not likely to get any cheaper. Not only that, but there's no guarantee your kids will get in. Factoring in the almost certain tuition increases, and it would not be unrealistic to expect $1 million to send two kids to K-12 at those schools. That buys a LOT of extra house. Not only can you cash the house in after your kids have left the nest, but you get the benefit of living in a nice house in a nice area.

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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by itstoomuch » Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:45 pm

We advised single son (then 28) to buy earlier than to buy later.
His shared housemates (high 20's) were gradually buying.
His CEO said it was a good time to buy in Seattle.
His purchase was a stretch in 2014 (age 29) but he had prepared for the purchase by not doing 401k or Roth for 1 years (I didn't know) and we helped him rather than for him to sell stock (FB).

Son's raises were very good but not as good as purchased housing increases.
Rents in all areas of Seattle exceeded the ownership PITI+fees for that location.
Told son, he can always move and probably will move to please spouse.
Think the 1st home as a place holder for the next home.
But as long as home building remains below family formation and new multifamily units are below new residents, prices must go up until an equilibrium or excess in affordable housing.

As for school: We did public. He was the TAG kid since kindergarden. Lots of EC's. 30-40% of school(s) was eligible for school lunch.

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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by livesoft » Tue Aug 30, 2016 4:12 pm

TXatty wrote:It's more fun to ask random internet strangers :). Most of our friends don't have school-age children yet.
I asked my spouse where our friends sent their kids to school. Four different couples sent their kids to St John's. One couple to Kinkaid, and another to Carnegie Vanguard High School. I guess our other friends probably went to non-magnet public, but never name drop.

My kids went to public school, but not in HISD.
Last edited by livesoft on Tue Aug 30, 2016 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Toons
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by Toons » Tue Aug 30, 2016 4:17 pm

Public School
Pay off the car loan.
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Re: Good School District or Private School?

Post by bigred77 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 4:17 pm

livesoft wrote:
TXatty wrote:It's more fun to ask random internet strangers :). Most of our friends don't have school-age children yet.
I asked my spouse where our friends sent their kids to school. Four different couples sent their kids to St John's. One couple to Kincaid, and another to Carnegie Vanguard High School. I guess our other friends probably went to non-magnet public, but never name drop.

My kids went to public school, but not in HISD.
I need to run in your circles :mrgreen:

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