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Old 05-06-2015, 02:55 PM
 
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I think this decision really depends on the individual students involved. If your kids are just average students, it may make sense to pay more for a really top school district to make sure they don't slip through the cracks.

But say, hypothetically of course , you have a kid who consistently scores in the top 1 or 2% or all Illinois students on the standardized tests. My bet is that they might do just fine in Westmont--or even a lesser school. But my number one concern as a parent would be finding a high school with a challenging college prep curriculum, qualified teachers with advanced degrees, and extracurriculars that align with your needs.
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Old 05-06-2015, 02:59 PM
 
1,500 posts, read 1,606,428 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by My Kind Of Town View Post
I think this has been said before but Hinsdale buyers are not just paying for the schools. It certainly was one of the factors in our decision but an even bigger factor for us, and I'm certain many others, was location and Metra access (3 stations). I also like being surrounded by people that take care of their property (or hire someone to take care of their property ).
Pride of ownership rates are as high in Wheaton as they are in Hinsdale and we have two Metra stations. The reasons my wife and I picked Wheaton (CUSD 200) over Hinsdale, et al mostly involved our children.

The things we found in CUSD 200 that we couldn't find elsewhere:

- Lower property cost, allowing us to save more for our kids and the future
- More extensive park district offerings
- More parades, festivals, concerts and events throughout the year
- More public green space, including preserves and the prairie path
- Larger and more active downtown district
- Local zoo
- Full service, publicly-owned equestrian center
- Living history farm
- Water park
- Lower cost and more widely available childcare
- Museums, formal gardens and greenhouses at Cantigny
- Best private golf course and second best public golf course in the state
- Tennis courts and tot lots on every corner
- Etc, etc, etc...

()
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Old 05-06-2015, 03:03 PM
 
835 posts, read 638,137 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl1ngsworth View Post
Pride of ownership rates are as high in Wheaton as they are in Hinsdale and we have two Metra stations. The reasons my wife and I picked Wheaton (CUSD 200) over Hinsdale, et al mostly involved our children.

The things we found in Wheaton that we couldn't find elsewhere:

- Lower property cost, allowing us to save more for them and the future
- More extensive park district offerings
- More parades, festivals, concerts and events throughout the year
- More public green space, including preserves and the prairie path
- Larger and more active downtown district
- Local zoo
- Full service, publicly-owned equestrian center
- Living history farm
- Water park
- Lower cost and more widely available childcare
- Museums, formal gardens and greenhouses at Cantigny
- Etc, etc, etc
Ok, but to me, location outweighs everything you just mentioned above. Also, I have driven through many parts of Wheaton where the homes have extensive deferred maintenance and are, to be frank, eyesores. Sure you have some in Hinsdale as well but not nearly at the same rate that I see in a town like Wheaton.
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Old 05-06-2015, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Tri-Cities
495 posts, read 571,626 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl1ngsworth View Post
New list, updated with AP participant passing rate and % low income enrollment. Sorted by AP participant passing rate.

A lot of the variation in PSAE and AP scores can be chalked up to low income enrollment skewing the data. If you're a non-low income family, your child will largely have the same opportunity for success at any of the schools below. Clearly all these schools are preparing their AP students for success in college and beyond.
h-worth, please show this to Geneva! Shows that they're really not that much better than B-Town like they claim to be!
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Old 05-06-2015, 03:32 PM
 
28,383 posts, read 67,919,335 times
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I mostly agree that if you find a nice home in a great location in Wheaton you are giving up very little if anything compared to similarly priced home in a more costly suburb like Glen Ellyn or Hinsdale.

I do not, however, agree at all with the statement that "if your kids are consistently scoring" in the tippy top you'd be OK in a lesser district. The hard truth is kids like that will get bored and fall behind their peers in a more challenging environment. Heck even when I poke fun of some parents with the "precious snowflake" mindset I have to acknowledge that the desire to get even the most academically capable students into a situation where their capabilities are engaged is a legitimate reason for parents even a really outstanding district that ranks in the top 20 of the state to push for the kind of classes / teacher ratios that ensure their kids will not coast or crash. Having known parents that choose private schools or IMSA I can say that the whole social environment that goes along with those choices is light-years removed from the more run-of-the-mill schools...

To try to bring this back to something useful for the OP, who started by inquiring about Oswego and similar schools further out west, I can say that it is certainly a very different environment when you look and see how it is radically different to have a single National Merit Scholarship winner at Oswego vs consistently a few dozen at Hinsdale Central -- Oswego High School Senior A National Merit Scholar Semifinalist
Hinsdale Central Announces National Merit Finalists | Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills, IL Patch

Similarly the strong support that so many students get to participate in athletics means HC often snags multiple top finishes in sports, even though both schools have long had lots of offerings -- School Directory | IHSA
School Directory | IHSA
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Old 05-06-2015, 03:49 PM
 
11,972 posts, read 26,849,693 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
I mostly agree that if you find a nice home in a great location in Wheaton you are giving up very little if anything compared to similarly priced home in a more costly suburb like Glen Ellyn or Hinsdale.

I do not, however, agree at all with the statement that "if your kids are consistently scoring" in the tippy top you'd be OK in a lesser district.
You seemed to miss the second part of my statement:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lookout Kid View Post
But say, hypothetically of course , you have a kid who consistently scores in the top 1 or 2% or all Illinois students on the standardized tests. My bet is that they might do just fine in Westmont--or even a lesser school. But my number one concern as a parent would be finding a high school with a challenging college prep curriculum, qualified teachers with advanced degrees, and extracurriculars that align with your needs.
My point is that top students still do quite well in schools like Wheaton North, Lyons Township, Glenbard West, Naperville Central, and Prospect High School. These are all perhaps second or third tier according to traditional rankings, but they offer very challenging curricula, have highly qualified teachers, offer pretty much every extra-curricular in the book, and have a full cadre of challenging AP course offerings. The primary difference is that these mostly upper-middle-class schools have a more diverse base of families without being overwhelmed by intense poverty. Dollar for dollar, I believe these communities are a better deal than the Hinsdale Centrals or New Trier Townships of the world. Just like I believe most people are better-served going to the University of Illinois than they are going in to debt to pay for Northwestern.

I know a handful of highly-intelligent high school students, including those who have earned "acadmemic all star"-type ratings from local media, and I don't believe that they would have been any better off at New Trier or Hinsdale Central. You are free to disagree with me, but I firmly believe this to be true.
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Old 05-06-2015, 03:51 PM
 
1,500 posts, read 1,606,428 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by My Kind Of Town View Post
Ok, but to me, location outweighs everything you just mentioned above. Also, I have driven through many parts of Wheaton where the homes have extensive deferred maintenance and are, to be frank, eyesores. Sure you have some in Hinsdale as well but not nearly at the same rate that I see in a town like Wheaton.
Ok. All about location, you say? My train ride is ten minutes longer each way. That's 20 minutes a day, 6.7 hours a month, and 80.4 hours a year. Over the course of a 30-year mortgage I'll spend an additional 2412 hours commuting.

However.

The average 4-bed house in Hinsdale costs $370k more than the average 4-bed house in Wheaton. If its really all about location, then over the course of 30 years I'm adding $51/day or $153/per commuting hour to my "free cash flow" by living at my location.

$370,000/30 years = $12,333/year
$12,333/12 months = $1027/month
$1027/20 commuting days = $51/day

20 minutes per day = $51 per 20 minutes = $153 per hour

That's a pay scale higher than the median income in Hinsdale or anywhere. I understand time is important, but it wasn't that important to us. We were more concerned with maximizing the amenities that we'd be enjoying on a daily basis. Our quality of life. Now don't get me wrong, I understand the location and school performance arguments. And I understand that a lot of folks shopping Hinsdale are not cross shopping Wheaton, Naperville, Glen Ellyn, etc. But the reason they don't cross shop has little to with commutes and test scores, and much to do with cachet. Cachet is a big component of the premium. We did decide to cross shop and, in the end, found the cachet unjustifiable.

Now here's the "location" icing on the cake. Those few extra minutes I spend on the train are usually occupied by work-related tasks that I would otherwise have to do at home. That's the beauty of riding Metra. I effectively lose no time at all.

Last edited by holl1ngsworth; 05-06-2015 at 04:48 PM..
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Old 05-06-2015, 04:05 PM
 
28,383 posts, read 67,919,335 times
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Default Valid assessment!

Quote:
Originally Posted by holl1ngsworth View Post
Ok. All about location, you say? My train ride is ten minutes longer each way. That's 20 minutes a day, 6.7 hours a month, and 80.4 hours a year. Over the course of a 30-year mortgage I'll spend an additional 2412 hours commuting.

However.

The average 4-bed house in Hinsdale costs $370k more than the average 4-bed house in Wheaton. If its really all about location, then over the course of 30 years I'm adding $51/day or $153/per commuting hour to my "free cash flow" by living at my location.

$370,000/30 years = $12,333/year
$12,333/12 months = $1027/month
$1027/20 commuting days = $51/day

20 minutes per day = $51 per 20 minutes = $153 per hour

That's a pay scale higher than the median income in Hinsdale or anywhere. I understand time is important, but it wasn't that important to us. We were more concerned with maximizing the amenities that we'd be enjoying on a daily basis. Our quality of life. Now don't get me wrong, I understand the location and school performance arguments. And I understand that a lot of folks shopping Hinsdale are not cross shopping Wheaton, Naperville, Glen Ellyn, etc. But the main reason they don't cross shop has little to with commutes or test scores, and much to do with cachet. Cachet is a big component of the premium. We did decide to cross shop and, in the end, found the cachet unjustifiable.

Now here's the "location" icing on the cake. Those extra 20 minutes I spend on the train are usually occupied by work-related tasks that I would otherwise have to do at home. That's the beauty of riding Metra. I effectively lose no time at all.
Honestly, the way you slice up the data you could be working a teppanyaki of numeric justifications! It is really rare to meet anyone that bothers to assign any numeric values to things like commute time -- for 99% of buyers the final decision is about "what feels right"...
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Old 05-06-2015, 04:15 PM
 
1,500 posts, read 1,606,428 times
Reputation: 550
Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
Honestly, the way you slice up the data you could be working a teppanyaki of numeric justifications! It is really rare to meet anyone that bothers to assign any numeric values to things like commute time -- for 99% of buyers the final decision is about "what feels right"...
Yea, I guess I had a bit of a problem basing the biggest financial decision of my life on feelings.

Last edited by holl1ngsworth; 05-06-2015 at 05:10 PM..
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Old 05-06-2015, 08:27 PM
 
835 posts, read 638,137 times
Reputation: 541
Quote:
Originally Posted by holl1ngsworth View Post
Ok. All about location, you say? My train ride is ten minutes longer each way. That's 20 minutes a day, 6.7 hours a month, and 80.4 hours a year. Over the course of a 30-year mortgage I'll spend an additional 2412 hours commuting.

However.

The average 4-bed house in Hinsdale costs $370k more than the average 4-bed house in Wheaton. If its really all about location, then over the course of 30 years I'm adding $51/day or $153/per commuting hour to my "free cash flow" by living at my location.

$370,000/30 years = $12,333/year
$12,333/12 months = $1027/month
$1027/20 commuting days = $51/day

20 minutes per day = $51 per 20 minutes = $153 per hour

That's a pay scale higher than the median income in Hinsdale or anywhere. I understand time is important, but it wasn't that important to us. We were more concerned with maximizing the amenities that we'd be enjoying on a daily basis. Our quality of life. Now don't get me wrong, I understand the location and school performance arguments. And I understand that a lot of folks shopping Hinsdale are not cross shopping Wheaton, Naperville, Glen Ellyn, etc. But the reason they don't cross shop has little to with commutes and test scores, and much to do with cachet. Cachet is a big component of the premium. We did decide to cross shop and, in the end, found the cachet unjustifiable.

Now here's the "location" icing on the cake. Those few extra minutes I spend on the train are usually occupied by work-related tasks that I would otherwise have to do at home. That's the beauty of riding Metra. I effectively lose no time at all.
It's not just Metra times. I am 1-2 minutes from I-294 depending on how long I sit at the stop sign at Ogden and County Line Road, 5 minutes from I-55, I-290, and I-88, just over 10 miles from Midway, and less than 20 miles from both O'Hare and the loop. That's what I mean when I say location trumps everything else in my opinion. We have considerable flexibility on where we can work and still maintain a reasonable commute. That's huge to us. Only suburbs that are more centrally located would be Oak Brook and Elmhurst, which we looked at for awhile and would still prefer over further west suburbs like Wheaton and Glen Ellyn.
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