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Old 01-23-2015, 04:24 PM
 
839 posts, read 640,016 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lookout Kid View Post
We actually walked away from a deal on a house because of a structural problem with the foundation. And it was fixable, but the current homeowners weren't willing to address it in a manner that we were happy with.

Our current house has some horizontal cracks that we are watching, but without bowing they aren't necessarily a problem. Vertical cracks are normal with block and poured foundations. I've seen them in houses built in the 1990's.

Like I said, I'd swap out my basement in a second if it weren't prohibitively expensive to do so. It is actually something that has been done, however. Nicole Curtis even did it on Rehab Addict. You have to really love the house to do something like that...
Agree. Emphasis on the word LOVE because when you analyze that type of work from a cost/benefit ratio perspective, it will clearly favor not doing some sort of uber expensive retrofit repair work and instead favor starting over (i.e. tear down). There may be a few exceptions but I would say that is the general rule. I would also say that type of decision is based more on emotion than financial sense IMO.

Last edited by My Kind Of Town; 01-23-2015 at 04:49 PM..
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Old 01-24-2015, 08:23 AM
 
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As I said, there is a chance that you could encounter foundation problems. But in all my years of owning houses I've only known what they call "settling". Most houses develop small cracks in the basement floor and walls but they can be patched and repaired. And many have small seepage issues when there are big rains.
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Old 01-24-2015, 08:45 AM
 
839 posts, read 640,016 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToriaT View Post
As I said, there is a chance that you could encounter foundation problems. But in all my years of owning houses I've only known what they call "settling". Most houses develop small cracks in the basement floor and walls but they can be patched and repaired. And many have small seepage issues when there are big rains.
Many people have issues and don't realize it because their basements are finished and issues may be hidden. Here's a good list of some less obvious ways of identifying foundation and structural issues in a home.

https://www.superiorfoundationrepair...tion-problems/

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/signs-h...lems-8678.html

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/dangers...ues-70472.html
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Old 01-25-2015, 02:07 PM
 
839 posts, read 640,016 times
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I will say that the performance of the schools we are zoned for will make this decision very difficult. I don't think we will be able to find the same combination of high performing schools with our budget in our search for newer/larger homes. Might just have to wait longer than anticipated and continue saving money. Certainly something that are struggling with as our first child is very close to beginning kindergarten. Of course we want the best in schools but I suppose there are trade offs with moving to an area slightly lower performing, albeit still very high, and having a larger house where we don't feel as cramped. According to the latest ISAT results, our grade school tested out 19th in the state. I was very impressed by this performance since this area of Hinsdale has always been considered one of, if not, the least desireable parts of town, relatively speaking.

The Lane Elementary School in Hinsdale IL - SchoolDigger.com
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Old 01-25-2015, 09:38 PM
 
1,500 posts, read 1,608,226 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by My Kind Of Town View Post
I will say that the performance of the schools we are zoned for will make this decision very difficult. I don't think we will be able to find the same combination of high performing schools with our budget in our search for newer/larger homes. Might just have to wait longer than anticipated and continue saving money. Certainly something that are struggling with as our first child is very close to beginning kindergarten. Of course we want the best in schools but I suppose there are trade offs with moving to an area slightly lower performing, albeit still very high, and having a larger house where we don't feel as cramped. According to the latest ISAT results, our grade school tested out 19th in the state. I was very impressed by this performance since this area of Hinsdale has always been considered one of, if not, the least desireable parts of town, relatively speaking.

The Lane Elementary School in Hinsdale IL - SchoolDigger.com
I strongly dislike SchoolDigger, and I wouldn't recommend anyone use it for filtering schools. Instead, I think the best tool available for parents is the official Illinois Report Card website, set up by the Illinois State Board of Education through a partnership with Northern Illinois University: Illinois Report Card (Classic view: IIRC Home). It's the source data for all the ranking sites, it's 100% accurate, and it's free from arbitrary and injudicious rankings and scores. It presents the raw data in a user-friendly format and allows parents to make their own informed decisions.

That said, there are a number of towns that have elementary schools comparable to The Lane in Hinsdale. In Wheaton, Longfellow outscored The Lane in 2013 and fell just 1 point shy of it in 2014:

Longfellow Elem School - Academic Progress | Illinois Report Card
ISAT Scores
2013: 91%
2014: 91%

The Lane Elem School - Academic Progress | Illinois Report Card
ISAT Scores
2013: 89%
2014: 92%

Others that compare favorably include Highlands in Naperville, Ben Franklin in Glen Ellyn, Ogden Ave in La Grange and Lincoln in Elmhurst. Going through the most recent set of numbers, I was a little surprised there were no stand-out elementary schools in Downers Grove for 2014. In fact, none managed over an 85% on the ISAT: Downers Grove GSD 58 - Schools in District | Illinois Report Card

Last edited by holl1ngsworth; 01-25-2015 at 10:39 PM..
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Old 01-26-2015, 01:25 AM
 
162 posts, read 213,686 times
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While it is very useful, I think you have to be careful with the Illinois report card as well. A lot of people on this forum throw around the above-mentioned ISAT score with the implication that a higher score = their children getting a better education. While the score is important in its own right, I think the link between higher score and a better education for your child is complicated if not tenuous, particularly if your child is at least "average". Don't forget, this represents the % of students at the school that meet/exceed expectations. So, take a school with a score of 85% for example... that 85% of the student body could all just barely hovering above the bare minimum of expectations or 85% of the class could be far exceeding expectations... big difference. Of course its somewhere in the middle for the essentially all schools, but varies considerably.

The ISAT% essentially tells you the schools "failure rate" (100 minus ISAT%) - it points out the low end. Of course this reflects on the quality of the instruction, but really it reflects on how well the teachers are able to support students that have academic difficulties, not high achieving students. Statistically speaking, it is also largely influenced by the educational, socioeconomic, and racial demographic of the families in that school district. But if your son/daughter is anywhere between average and excellent academically... I'm not sure how much that ISAT% is really directly indicative of the quality of education they receive. Of course there is a benefit to a more uniform level of performance in terms of the culture of the school, especially in elementary school before classes are broken apart by academic level. And I would guess that often actual quality of the school (however you define that) does trend with the ISAT%, I just don't think it is much of a causal link.

If you dig a little deeper in the Illinois report card, you can find data breaking down the % of students that were at each level of performance (meet, exceed, etc) at each grade level, and in each subject. Then you can track how many of those students improved (ex: from meet expectations in 3rd grade math to exceed expectations in 4th grade math) or regressed. I think that is a MUCH more useful assessment of teaching quality than knowing that the bottom 11% of your school isn't cutting it while everyone else is at least ok...
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:41 AM
 
1,500 posts, read 1,608,226 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agallan View Post
While it is very useful, I think you have to be careful with the Illinois report card as well. A lot of people on this forum throw around the above-mentioned ISAT score with the implication that a higher score = their children getting a better education. While the score is important in its own right, I think the link between higher score and a better education for your child is complicated if not tenuous, particularly if your child is at least "average". Don't forget, this represents the % of students at the school that meet/exceed expectations. So, take a school with a score of 85% for example... that 85% of the student body could all just barely hovering above the bare minimum of expectations or 85% of the class could be far exceeding expectations... big difference. Of course its somewhere in the middle for the essentially all schools, but varies considerably.

The ISAT% essentially tells you the schools "failure rate" (100 minus ISAT%) - it points out the low end. Of course this reflects on the quality of the instruction, but really it reflects on how well the teachers are able to support students that have academic difficulties, not high achieving students. Statistically speaking, it is also largely influenced by the educational, socioeconomic, and racial demographic of the families in that school district. But if your son/daughter is anywhere between average and excellent academically... I'm not sure how much that ISAT% is really directly indicative of the quality of education they receive. Of course there is a benefit to a more uniform level of performance in terms of the culture of the school, especially in elementary school before classes are broken apart by academic level. And I would guess that often actual quality of the school (however you define that) does trend with the ISAT%, I just don't think it is much of a causal link.

If you dig a little deeper in the Illinois report card, you can find data breaking down the % of students that were at each level of performance (meet, exceed, etc) at each grade level, and in each subject. Then you can track how many of those students improved (ex: from meet expectations in 3rd grade math to exceed expectations in 4th grade math) or regressed. I think that is a MUCH more useful assessment of teaching quality than knowing that the bottom 11% of your school isn't cutting it while everyone else is at least ok...
Well, this is precisely why I recommend using the Illinois Report Card site. All the data is there, past and present, and you can dig deeper. Unlike GreatSchools, SchoolDigger, Niche, et al. which simply encourage you to swallow a rating.

Last edited by holl1ngsworth; 01-26-2015 at 03:40 AM..
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Old 01-26-2015, 04:22 AM
 
1,500 posts, read 1,608,226 times
Reputation: 550
Quote:
Originally Posted by agallan View Post
While it is very useful, I think you have to be careful with the Illinois report card as well. A lot of people on this forum throw around the above-mentioned ISAT score with the implication that a higher score = their children getting a better education. While the score is important in its own right, I think the link between higher score and a better education for your child is complicated if not tenuous, particularly if your child is at least "average". Don't forget, this represents the % of students at the school that meet/exceed expectations. So, take a school with a score of 85% for example... that 85% of the student body could all just barely hovering above the bare minimum of expectations or 85% of the class could be far exceeding expectations... big difference. Of course its somewhere in the middle for the essentially all schools, but varies considerably.

The ISAT% essentially tells you the schools "failure rate" (100 minus ISAT%) - it points out the low end. Of course this reflects on the quality of the instruction, but really it reflects on how well the teachers are able to support students that have academic difficulties, not high achieving students. Statistically speaking, it is also largely influenced by the educational, socioeconomic, and racial demographic of the families in that school district. But if your son/daughter is anywhere between average and excellent academically... I'm not sure how much that ISAT% is really directly indicative of the quality of education they receive. Of course there is a benefit to a more uniform level of performance in terms of the culture of the school, especially in elementary school before classes are broken apart by academic level. And I would guess that often actual quality of the school (however you define that) does trend with the ISAT%, I just don't think it is much of a causal link.

If you dig a little deeper in the Illinois report card, you can find data breaking down the % of students that were at each level of performance (meet, exceed, etc) at each grade level, and in each subject. Then you can track how many of those students improved (ex: from meet expectations in 3rd grade math to exceed expectations in 4th grade math) or regressed. I think that is a MUCH more useful assessment of teaching quality than knowing that the bottom 11% of your school isn't cutting it while everyone else is at least ok...
Here are the two highest performing schools from each of the western suburbs in question, along with their oft cited overall meet/exceed ISAT percentages:

1.) 94% Madison Elem School Hinsdale
1.) 94% John Laidlaw Elem School Western Springs
3.) 93% Meadow Glens Elem School Naperville
4.) 92% Highlands Elem School Naperville
4.) 92% The Lane Elem School Hinsdale
6.) 91% Longfellow Elem School Wheaton
7.) 90% Ogden Ave Elem School La Grange
8.) 89% Lincoln Elem School Elmhurst
9.) 88% Ben Franklin Elem School Glen Ellyn
9.) 88% Cossitt Ave Elem School La Grange
11.) 87% Forest Hills Elem School Western Springs
12.) 86% Hawthorne Elem School Elmhurst
13.) 85% Pierce Downer Elem School Downers Grove
14.) 84% Whittier Elem School Wheaton
15.) 83% Hillcrest Elem School Downers Grove
16.) 79% Forest Glen Elem School Glen Ellyn

And here's how the list changes when you adjust for only exceed (ie, how many kids are outperforming):

1.) 53% Madison Elem School Hinsdale (↔)
2.) 52% Highlands Elem School Naperville (↑ 2)
2.) 52% John Laidlaw Elem School Western Springs (↓ 1)
4.) 50% Longfellow Elem School Wheaton (↑ 2)
5.) 46% Forest Hills Elem School Western Springs (↑ 6)
5.) 46% The Lane Elem School Hinsdale (↓ 1)
7.) 44% Meadow Glens Elem School Naperville (↓ 4)
8.) 42% Cossitt Ave Elem School La Grange (↑ 1)
8.) 42% Ogden Ave Elem School La Grange (↓ 1)
10.) 41% Whittier Elem School Wheaton (↑ 4)
10.) 41% Ben Franklin Elem School Glen Ellyn (↓ 1)
12.) 40% Lincoln Elem School Elmhurst (↓ 4)
13.) 37% Hawthorne Elem School Elmhurst (↓ 1)
14.) 35% Forest Glen Elem School Glen Ellyn (↑ 2)
14.) 35% Hillcrest Elem School Downers Grove (↑ 1)
16.) 34% Pierce Downer Elem School Downers Grove (↓ 3)

And here's how the overall list changes if you adjust for only non-low income (ie, how the kids who aren't poor are performing):

1.) 95% Longfellow Elem School Wheaton (↑ 5)
1.) 95% Madison Elem School Hinsdale (↔)
3.) 94% John Laidlaw Elem School Western Springs (↓ 2)
4.) 93% Meadow Glens Elem School Naperville (↓ 1)
5.) 92% Highlands Elem School Naperville (↓ 1)
5.) 92% The Lane Elem School Hinsdale (↓ 1)
6.) 91% Ben Franklin Elem School Glen Ellyn (↑ 3)
7.) 90% Ogden Ave Elem School La Grange (↔)
8.) 89% Whittier Elem School Wheaton (↑ 6)
8.) 89% Lincoln Elem School Elmhurst (↔)
8.) 89% Cossitt Ave Elem School La Grange (↑ 1)
11.) 87% Forest Hills Elem School Western Springs (↔)
11.) 87% Pierce Downer Elem School Downers Grove (↑ 2)
13.) 86% Forest Glen Elem School Glen Ellyn (↑ 3)
13.) 86% Hawthorne Elem School Elmhurst (↓ 1)
16.) 84% Hillcrest Elem School Downers Grove (↓ 1)

Last edited by holl1ngsworth; 01-26-2015 at 05:29 AM..
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Old 01-26-2015, 05:45 AM
 
839 posts, read 640,016 times
Reputation: 542
Quote:
Originally Posted by holl1ngsworth View Post
I strongly dislike SchoolDigger, and I wouldn't recommend anyone use it for filtering schools. Instead, I think the best tool available for parents is the official Illinois Report Card website, set up by the Illinois State Board of Education through a partnership with Northern Illinois University: Illinois Report Card (Classic view: IIRC Home). It's the source data for all the ranking sites, it's 100% accurate, and it's free from arbitrary and injudicious rankings and scores. It presents the raw data in a user-friendly format and allows parents to make their own informed decisions.

That said, there are a number of towns that have elementary schools comparable to The Lane in Hinsdale. In Wheaton, Longfellow outscored The Lane in 2013 and fell just 1 point shy of it in 2014:

Longfellow Elem School - Academic Progress | Illinois Report Card
ISAT Scores
2013: 91%
2014: 91%

The Lane Elem School - Academic Progress | Illinois Report Card
ISAT Scores
2013: 89%
2014: 92%

Others that compare favorably include Highlands in Naperville, Ben Franklin in Glen Ellyn, Ogden Ave in La Grange and Lincoln in Elmhurst. Going through the most recent set of numbers, I was a little surprised there were no stand-out elementary schools in Downers Grove for 2014. In fact, none managed over an 85% on the ISAT: Downers Grove GSD 58 - Schools in District | Illinois Report Card
Thanks for the link, that is very useful. And you are right there do appear to be a number of standout elementary schools in the area but beyond elementary we still struggle to find a combination of similarly high performing schools K-12 outside of Hinsdale. For example, when I look at Wheaton there appears to be a considerable dropoff from Hinsdale Middle/Hinsdale Central to Franklin Middle/Wheaton North. The north shore appears to provide a similar combination of high performing schools as Hinsdale but is not an option due to even greater cost and poor location (for work).

I don't know, maybe I'm making too much of the schools but of course just like anyone else we want the best for our children.
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Old 01-26-2015, 05:53 AM
 
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I suppose parts of Western Springs and Clarendon Hills are the closest in terms of performance K-12 within the western burbs but I really don't see much, if any, difference in real estate prices in those areas (at least with our budget). I guess you get what you pay for...
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