House or zip code?

So as my family is expanding, we’ve decided that we are going to leave the amazing city of Chicago and instead move to the Chicago suburbs. We love the city and have a nice home here but we would like a real back yard for the kids. We are also not super interested in the public school lottery or paying 30k net per child for a top class Private school (Catholic school is an option but Mrs. Lochdale isn’t Catholic so it is not our first choice).

So that leaves the suburbs. Whilst looking we have noticed that you can get a lot of house in suburbs that aren’t called the North Shore (in the north) or Hinsdale to the west. The schools in these areas are terrific as is the cache of saying “hey, I’m likely an epic douche bag but I live in Winnetka”.

So Dopers, what do you think is better for kids? A great house or living in a better neighborhood? What’s better for the grown ups?

Any thoughts, opinions and comments welcomed!

The ideal would be to find the next Hinsdale, wouldn’t it?

I would go the best public school stats per square foot of housing.

I don’t know about Illinois, but Wisconsin has “open enrollment,” which means no matter where you live, you can choose the public school you desire for your kids. And they don’t all have to go to the same school, but I believe you have to declare your intentions early in the school year.

Not a bad thing buhemp understanding is that he Teacher’s unions tend to be against that sort of thing.

It would be but I have no idea what tha might be…Park Ridge?

I was going to suggest Park Ridge (or Niles or Morton Grove) or Buffalo Grove. You would aim for Stevenson or Maine South HS. Or IMSA. Or Parker (Francis W.) if you stay in the city.

I should add that I did not grow up in Chicago or have any family in Chicago (or the suburbs) … I grew up in South Florida. But I am rull good at channeling the North Shore mentality. So I know whereof I speak.

In Wisconsin, the law takes precedence over teachers’ tends. And what’s a buhemp?

An iPad glitch. The law tends to be perverted by special interests and the teachers unions are a rather powerful special interest lobby.

And what’s a tend?

Parker is 25k per child, per year.


Don’t let your prospective North Shore neighbors know that anything so vulgar as cost prevented you from sending them to FWP. :wink:

Please ignore. I thought it was asking your Zip Code.

Oh that’s OK. I thought Anaheim wasn’t a bad suggestion.

And that’s the story of Anaheim, California.

So a “tend” (admittedly, a coined word) would be something Teacher’s unions tend to be against.

Gotta say Palatine. In and out of the city quick, excellent schools, near the racetrack (Arlington Park), excellent library, etc. 15 minutes to Woodfield, right next to Lake County (way cheaper gas and smokes), tons of Forest Preserves - I really hated it the various times I didn’t live here (moved to MO once and moved to Elgin once). Didn’t grow UP here, but have lived her 20+ years.

Though having them at different schools could be a real logistical nightmare: I don’t know for sure, but I’d bet that you have to provide your own transportation in that situation.

We were once house-hunting and the school that served the target neighborhood would have followed a completely different schedule (date-wise) than my son’s special-ed program did - traditional Sep-to-June vs. a kind of year-round schedule. It was a huge negative.

Back to the OP: I would agree with j666’s suggestion: best stats per square foot, or something along those lines. A big yard is very nice but if the schools aren’t good, your kids will suffer (as will your resale value). I don’t know the Chicago area well, but around here we could get twice the house for half the money if we went across the Potomac into Prince George’s County, Maryland… trouble is, the schools aren’t all that good in much of the county, or at least that’s the perception.

Look into the property taxes as well. My brother lives in Oak Park and their taxes on the house they just sold were not too much less than 20,000 a year. From something he said, this was because the state provided very little support for schools, so the municipalities had to pay it all themselves (and I know I’m misremembering / oversimplifying it).

20,000 is, admittedly, less than the 30,000 a year you mentioned for the private school - but you’d be paying that 20 grand right now before the kids are in school, and you’d still be paying it after they graduate.

We have open enrollment here in South Dakota too, but there are certain rules that have to be followed, it isn’t just a matter of deciding you want to move schools.

Here is the relevant page from the SD DOE. And here is the relevant chapter in the codified laws.

I’d recommend finding out which public schools in the area are the best, and then choose a house that will allow your children to go to those schools.

Ha! Touché.

On property taxes, you pay those in the City too so you get the double whammy of taxes and trying to either pay for private school or deal with the public school lottery.