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Old 12-28-2011, 08:02 PM
 
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We are looking to move to Chicago, with a commute to Hyde Park campus on the cards. We have a toddler in preschool and a younger child in day care, and are looking for some location that would afford us a good schooling district.

We could use some advice on the following:

1. What are the Western suburbs (maybe in order of preference?) with respect to schooling that offer a commute of about 30 minutes or so to Hyde Park?
2. Oak Park has been suggested as ideal, but a four bedroom house seems beyond $400-450K budget and there is some mixed reviews of safety and such.
3. Hinsdale and Lombard have so far been recommended too, but we could use some advice on quality of public schools in those areas and affordability of a house with the above budget.
4. Are there other suburbs we could consider and are missing that would offer good amenities for a young family with kids?

Thanks!
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:17 AM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
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I think most towns have some safetly and crime issues; the question is to what degree and where is it. I do not believe with a $20K tax bill you will live in a dangerous neighborhood. Oak Park offers a tremendous amount of services and perks to children and families. It is 8 miles from the loop and it is still a desirable address.

Park Ridge is not a western 'burb and it is farther out, It too is beautiful community with services.

There isn't much wrong with most K-8 schools in Illinois. It seems like all high schools in America have issues. I personally think a parent who is deeply involved with their child and school from K though HS will have a good student even if he/she is raised in a tar paper shack next to railroad tracks with the loving parents. Private schools and home school is always an option.
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:45 AM
 
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La Grange, Western Springs, Hinsdale. Oak Park if you want a more urban experience. $400-500 will get you a nice house in La Grange/Western Springs, not sure about the other towns - I'm a north sider.

30 minutes is an optimistic estimate of travel time to Hyde Park for any of these.
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:11 AM
 
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30 minutes is an optimistic estimate of travel time to Hyde Park for any of these.[/quote]

I agree with this. Particularly if you are planning on driving during rush hour. Easily up to an hour or more.

I know several that live in Oak Park and commute to U of C. Most work unconventional hours, so they drive outside of rush hour. Or they take the trains there - which still takes time - or work from home some days.
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
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I don't think 30 minutes driving will get you to the western city limits.
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:13 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linicx View Post
I think most towns have some safetly and crime issues; the question is to what degree and where is it. I do not believe with a $20K tax bill you will live in a dangerous neighborhood. Oak Park offers a tremendous amount of services and perks to children and families. It is 8 miles from the loop and it is still a desirable address.

Park Ridge is not a western 'burb and it is farther out, It too is beautiful community with services.

There isn't much wrong with most K-8 schools in Illinois. It seems like all high schools in America have issues. I personally think a parent who is deeply involved with their child and school from K though HS will have a good student even if he/she is raised in a tar paper shack next to railroad tracks with the loving parents. Private schools and home school is always an option.
Yes, most HS have issues. Either rotten test scores and high dropout rates or a fiercely competitive academic environment as all students are trying to get into the best colleges.
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:30 PM
 
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Contrary to some of the other posts I will suggest that 30 minutes is not an unreasonable commute time during off-peak time. The relative ease of using I-55 (the Stevenson Expressway) to get to / from Hyde Park via Lakeshore Drive to towns like LaGrange,Western Springs, Hinsdale/Clarendon Hills and Burr Ridge -- Burr Ridge, IL to University of Chicago - Google Maps

I further disagree that there is any universal problems with high schools nor are "most elementaty schools good". There are tremendous number of very poorly performing schools in many areas. Even formerly well respected public schools near Hyde Park have seem declines in performance, this is probably due to the dilution of talent caused by expansion of some of the selective admissions schools within Chicago and the subsequent flocking to private schools like UofC Lab School.

For those who prefer public schools I would recommend only choosing from schools that make the Illinois Honor Roll for Academic Excellence, although Illinois' mandated tests are weak this list at least will help you avoid the worst performing schools: Illinois Honor Roll - Academic Excellence Awards 2010 List

Park Ridge is a bit further, but more importantly because you'd need to traverse the most congested parts of the Kennedy and the Dan Ryan even off peak I would not expect to make better than 45 minutes or so -- Park Ridge, IL to University of Chicago - Google Maps

For house of around $500K I would expect a tax bill in Hinsdale of about $10k -- 207 N Elm St, Hinsdale, IL 60521 | MLS# 07738763

Taxes are similar in La Grange: 115 N Peck Ave, LA GRANGE, IL 60525 | MLS# 07788181
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Old 12-29-2011, 05:44 PM
 
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I have a friend who works at the U of C and commutes every day from Wheaton to the train station in chicago. There is a bus that goes directly to U of C from there.
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Old 12-29-2011, 07:47 PM
 
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Thanks everyone for the useful comments!
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:50 PM
 
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I spent the past year commuting from Oak Park to the U of C Hospital. Leaving around 7-7:30am it took about 35 minutes to get there. Coming home between 5-6 usually took a solid hour, mostly because of congestion on the Ryan (and sometimes, the Eisenhower). It's not a terrible commute and if you were mostly traveling outside of rush hour, 30 minutes would be possible depending on where exactly you're going.
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