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Old 01-10-2013, 12:23 PM
 
3 posts, read 6,245 times
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Default Commack, Kings Park, Hauppauge or Smithtown: Which Town in Suffolk County?

My husband and I are currently looking to move out east from Nassau County. We are looking at Commack, Kings Park, Hauppauge and Smithtown. My head is all turned around. Each of these neighborhoods are supposed to be great, but then I hear some pretty negative things about them.

For example: Commack has superior schools, but a horrible bullying problem and an abnormally high teen suicide rate. Kings Park schools aren't as good as the neighboring communities (but I don't know why). Hauppauge focuses on sports rather than academics, lays off teachers, and has a middle school on academic probation with the state. Lastly, Smithtown schools are all great, but their sky high property taxes are destroying the neighborhood, and driving residents away in huge numbers. Oh, and they also have a horrible drug problem. I'm not really sure if any of this is true. Perhaps someone could help us focus.

We are parents to an eight year old, so a good school district is very important to us.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Suffolk County
802 posts, read 1,400,854 times
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I live in Kings Park but at this time I do not have any children in the district b/c they are younger. HOwever, when I was shopping around, my main focal point was Commack. We decided against Commack in the end b/c we were able to get more house for the same amount of money. Every house I looked at in Commack had no dining room..they converted a bedroom into the dining room and that was not my style. Also, on the side of Commack that is in the Town Of Huntington, the taxes were a lot of $$ whereas the Town of Smithtown side was less money. Our last search was in Kings Park. We looked at 2 houses there and decided on the second house. Our property taxes aren't nearly as bad as other towns...in the mid to upper $8k's when most houses are like $10k and above at the time. Someone pointed out to me that there is not town feel in Commack...and when I thought about it, I grew up in a small town (Bethpage) and when we were kids, we used to walk to "town". In Commack, kids don't have that option without crossing Jericho Turnpike which is a main road. Also, which part would really be considered "town" since there isn't a small strip of stores to walk to per se. Kings Park does have a nice quaint small town and we also have the water and a boardwalk in our area which is nice too. Kings Park is a hard working middle class town and our school district is VERY small. We have 2 elementary schools (Fort Salonga and Parkview)..with Fort Salonga being rated as the better and more desirable elementary school (from what I hear..although both elementary schools are supposed to be good but Fort Salonga has a special way of teaching), then we have an intermediate school, then a middle school and then a high school. I know Commack is supposedly a blue ribbon school...however, every time I mention to people where I live (Kings Park), they tell me it's a good district. If you compare the scores which are listed in Newsday, I believe Commack grade scores are slightly better than Kings Park..but not a huge amount. When I was house hunting, I was looking for an excellent district and I believe Kings Park is a very good district...I lived in Farmingdale prior to this and I would not have even thought of senidng my child to that district (my personal opinion; not out to offend anyone). So, it depends if you want your child to be enrolled in a huge school district or a small district. I grew up in a smaller school district personally; to me in a large district, the child can get lost in the crowd (academic wise, if they need help). But again, that's just my opinion. Either way, you have to spend time at each of these towns and see which one is more appealnig to your lifestyle. Although we live in Kings Park, we spend a lot of our time in Commack b/c that's where most of the shopping is done. Kings Park has a very small town feel and don't have too many options for shopping. In the summer it is nice though to walk through the town if a band is playing in the area or our parades, etc.

As for Smithtown, I've heard about the drugs as well..however, I think it's in every district. Parents really need to pay attention to their children and know the signs of drug abuse this way they can help their children if they get caught up in it. I liked Smithtown too but I am happy we stayed away b/c I work in Nassau County and taking the Sunken Meadow up to Pulaski or Main Street is much faster than being caught up on the traffic on Jericho Turnpike and heading through the town of Smithtown. As for Hauppauge, we did look there as well and I am relieved we didn't buy anything b/c the traffic on 347 is a nightmare.

If I were you, spend time in each of the towns and see where you think you belong. We are from Nassau County and while we miss where we came from b/c we lived there for 35 years and knew the entire area like the back of our hand, we do love Kings Park b/c it's quaint and you def get more property and more house for your money. And like I mentioned, we aren't far from the water and a boardwalk whcih is real nice to have too.

Good luck to you.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:52 PM
 
Location: Long Island,New York
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I also agree. None are bad areas but all have their advantages and disadvantages even if minor. I would take into consideration religion, if you work ,schools, shopping. If you are jewish and religious, Commack might have more to offer. If you like being close to a lot of shopping, you might not like kings Park as much. Hauppauge can be a little busy and some of its borders aren't as nice as the others but in all, they are 4 nice towns.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:56 PM
 
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Well, some of this is news to me. As a product of Commack schools, this is the first I'm hearing of the teen suicide problem. Yes, there drugs in Smithtown, but my experience is that this problem is confined to a small number of students; the all out heroin epidemic was created by the media and attributable to a small number of students. You can bet if there are drugs in Smithtown, though, they're everywhere.

The schools in this area are generally good. Commack is excellent, but you pay for that. Hauppauge is probably the tail of the bunch academically, but the property taxes in some parts of Hauppauge are much lower than neighboring towns. Kings Park reno'd the high school, so it's nice and shiny. There are plenty of advanced placement and accelerated classes for gifted kids and Smithtown has one of the best special needs programs in the state. Sports programs and clubs are excellent at these schools, a key towards thwarting a drug problem (though, not every child is an athlete).

As far as quality of the education, I feel you, the parent, needs to be involved at all times. There isn't much custom tailoring of the curriculum, so you need to be the advocate for your child, esp. at the high school level. Like with all things here in the metro area, it's education by conveyor belt (as in lots of students), so you need make sure yours is on target with electives and classes consistent with their abilities and interests. It's one thing to rank schools based on standardized testing, it's another to discover they're not offering everything your child needs.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Long Island,New York
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Hauppauge does have a solid program for children with special needs though.
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Smithtown, NY
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Let me start by saying much of what you heard about drugs in Smithtown is way overplayed and the suicide stats sound like B.S. as well. I don't think you can really go wrong in any of these areas and you will be able to access all that Smithtown Town has to offer (parks, beaches, library, etc.)
I searched the same areas when I first looked to move east. Commack was ruled out for lack of a "town" area as well as not liking the housing stock. Hauppauge, while also lacking a "town" area was attractive because of lower taxes but opinions on the schools from friends in the area ruled it out. We bought our first house in Smithtown but was in Kings Park Schools before moving into another house in Smithtown Schools. We are very pleased with Smithtown Schools and believe the larger district will offer our children more opportunities as well as full day kindergarten. That being said, I don't think KP schools are bad at all, just thought Smithtown had more to offer.
I find downtown Smithtown and Kings Park very convenient for groceries, hardware stores, restaurants, dry cleaners, etc. Good luck, the area has a lot to ofer.
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Suffolk County
802 posts, read 1,400,854 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nassau2suffolk View Post
Let me start by saying much of what you heard about drugs in Smithtown is way overplayed and the suicide stats sound like B.S. as well. I don't think you can really go wrong in any of these areas and you will be able to access all that Smithtown Town has to offer (parks, beaches, library, etc.)
I searched the same areas when I first looked to move east. Commack was ruled out for lack of a "town" area as well as not liking the housing stock. Hauppauge, while also lacking a "town" area was attractive because of lower taxes but opinions on the schools from friends in the area ruled it out. We bought our first house in Smithtown but was in Kings Park Schools before moving into another house in Smithtown Schools. We are very pleased with Smithtown Schools and believe the larger district will offer our children more opportunities as well as full day kindergarten. That being said, I don't think KP schools are bad at all, just thought Smithtown had more to offer.
I find downtown Smithtown and Kings Park very convenient for groceries, hardware stores, restaurants, dry cleaners, etc. Good luck, the area has a lot to ofer.
Just wanted to note that maybe when you were in KP school district they did not have full day kindergarten...however they do have full day kindergarten in the district now.
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Winston-Salem, North Carolina (But originally from Long Island)
76 posts, read 82,079 times
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We moved from Queens to Smithtown 25 years ago....we looked in all the towns you mentioned (as well as others), but really loved Smithtown - the schools - the shopping etc. We have lived in 2 different houses in Smithtown over the years. We raised our 3 kids here from Preschool through High School and never recalled hearing much about drug problems - its there, as it is everywhere - you just need to keep your eye on that with your kids, as with anything else. We shop here in town, in Commack - the mall in Lake Grove (which we usually drive thru St. James to get to - less traffic) We had belonged to the Smithtown Bay Yacht Club for many years (in case you are interested in boating - they have their own beach area, clubhouse - etc)

Good luck in your search!
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:49 PM
 
Location: Smithtown, NY
1,300 posts, read 1,463,939 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LIgirl74 View Post
Just wanted to note that maybe when you were in KP school district they did not have full day kindergarten...however they do have full day kindergarten in the district now.
Sorry, I was referring to when I moved.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:59 PM
 
846 posts, read 1,188,934 times
Reputation: 397
Quote:
Originally Posted by AddieLeigh View Post
My husband and I are currently looking to move out east from Nassau County. We are looking at Commack, Kings Park, Hauppauge and Smithtown. My head is all turned around. Each of these neighborhoods are supposed to be great, but then I hear some pretty negative things about them.

For example: Commack has superior schools, but a horrible bullying problem and an abnormally high teen suicide rate. Kings Park schools aren't as good as the neighboring communities (but I don't know why). Hauppauge focuses on sports rather than academics, lays off teachers, and has a middle school on academic probation with the state. Lastly, Smithtown schools are all great, but their sky high property taxes are destroying the neighborhood, and driving residents away in huge numbers. Oh, and they also have a horrible drug problem. I'm not really sure if any of this is true. Perhaps someone could help us focus.

We are parents to an eight year old, so a good school district is very important to us.
these are all good districts. If you keep on top of your child, he/she will succeed (which would be the case in most LI districts).
Commack does offer the IB program (my personal opinion though, is too many students are pushed into it).
As previously mentioned, the Smithtown drug problem is overstated, it exists in all schools, and I give Smithtown credit for addressing it. Believe me there are many districts with bigger problems.
Don't let a few points on a chart be the determining factor of where you purchase a home. Every one of the districts mentioned puts many of their graduates into great colleges each year.
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