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Old 01-24-2011, 11:18 PM
 
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We have a 3 year old and have been house hunting for "the great" place in LA to raise our little one. We've found a promising house in Studio City--which we never thought would be in our price range.

That said, the house is in charming Tujunga Village (E side of Tujunga) which falls in the North Hollywood school district (Rio Vista Elem, Walter Reed Middle, N Hlwd High).

We are looking for this to be a place we can stay for a while. The house would be perfect for us but I am juggling with compromising on the school district--the generic research shows those schools as going progressively downhill the higher up the grade level; I don't know the "word on the street" about the school district, either.

Should we pass on the charming house and neighborhood and keep searching for a better school district?
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Old 01-25-2011, 01:24 AM
 
Location: NoHo (North Hollywood)
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The school district is LAUSD. Studio City, North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, etc all belong to LAUSD. If you can live in Tujunga village for a reasonable price, do IT! That's a very desirable neighborhood that you may not be able to get into a few years from now. Hey, there's always private school.
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:46 PM
 
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It's all LAUSD and in general, its bad, especially at the high school level. Like the previous poster said, private schools may be the way to go.
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Old 01-25-2011, 01:52 PM
 
Location: South Bay
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you can always try to get into a magnet or charter before dishing out the big bucks for private schools. these schools are part of the public school system but operate independently of LAUSD and generally have much better academic performance at no additional cost.
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Old 01-29-2011, 05:29 PM
 
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As others have mentioned there is no "North Hollywood School District." All the schools mentioned fall under LAUSD.

If you're looking for all-around good schools, I'm not sure the ones you mentioned are good choices, frankly. Rio Vista looks decent (I admit to not knowing much about it), but the standard desirable elementary schools in the Studio City area are Carpenter and Colfax. I would look into those if I were you.

Walter Reed Middle School just isn't a good place. Ditto for North Hollywood High School. The thing is, Reed has a very well-regarded gifted/highly gifted program (the IHP) that, if your child is admitted, is indeed excellent. But the general school and regular honors track? Bad idea.

It's roughly the same story at North Hollywood, which is renowned for its Highly Gifted Magnet, one of the most rigorous preparatory programs in the nation. But if your child is not labeled highly gifted (145+ IQ), he/she isn't even eligible for the program--and trust me, you do not want your child in the general pool at that high school. Plus, there's bad stuff going down in the district right now with the highly gifted programs. Soon it may be impossible to even get district IQ test that qualifies students for the program, and by the time your child hits high school I think it is exceedingly likely that the HGM will no longer exist.

If I were in your shoes, I would expect to be shopping for private schools for middle and high school. Notre Dame (in Sherman Oaks) is well-regarded, and relatively cheap because it's a Catholic school. Harvard-Westlake (just up Coldwater) sometimes offers excellent financial aid packages, especially if you have something to offer them (like an athletic recruit). Campbell Hall (Studio City) is another private (Episcopalian) school with decent aid and a lower price tag. Buckley (Sherman Oaks) is not bad but it is expensive and I have no idea what their financial aid situation is like.

I hope this was of some help to you. I'm a graduate of the Reed IHP and NoHo HGM.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:49 AM
 
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All of these comments have been immensely helpful, especially to sort out the reality of what we are facing in house hunting. The house is under offer so fate has played a hand in the decision for now.

Thanks, Marchmain for your very insightful look into the IHP/HGM programs.

My next question will be--where would you buy a house with a budget of $600k as a couple with a toddler--wanting all the pretty typical things people look for, I.e.: community, walkability, safety schools. Or is this a pipe dream?
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:16 AM
 
Location: South Bay
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i'm not sure what type of walkability you are looking for, but becuase of our weather, pretty much anywhere with sidewalks (which is pretty much everywhere) is walkable. if you want neighborhood amenities within walking distance, then you'll probably have to look at condos/townhomes south of the hill if your budget is $600k. otherwise, a nice house in the valley can be had in that price range, or even further out towards thousand oaks or santa clarita, but driving will be required for most trips other than walking the dog or going for a jog.
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Old 02-09-2011, 01:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdgirl View Post
All of these comments have been immensely helpful, especially to sort out the reality of what we are facing in house hunting. The house is under offer so fate has played a hand in the decision for now.

Thanks, Marchmain for your very insightful look into the IHP/HGM programs.

My next question will be--where would you buy a house with a budget of $600k as a couple with a toddler--wanting all the pretty typical things people look for, I.e.: community, walkability, safety schools. Or is this a pipe dream?
Your price range is right on the cusp of what will buy a remodled 1500 sq ft 3bd 2ba home in Burbank. Theres stuff cheaper, but it generally needs work and features something negative about the location(busy street, lots of rentals, etc). Theres also stuff more expensive, but generally its east of the 5 or much larger or whever. Or delusional sellers, which there are quite a few of. I hate to recommend a realtor, but the lady that posts the San Fernando Valley real estate blog seems to be very familiar with the market in that area. I will note that I greatly disagree with her assessment of the real estate market in the SFV, and in LA in general. In particular I think Burbank/Glendale/Studio City/Sherman Oaks remain in a massive bubble and are set for further price declines in the 25-50% range over the next 5 years or so. If this seems ridiculous, keep in mind that 10 years ago homes in Burbank west of the 5 sold in the 225-350K range with nothing higher. So that 50% price decline would likely not even drop Burbank homes into the 1999-2000 price range.

Anyway, another very real option depending on your commute factors, is a townhome in South Pasadena.
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Old 02-09-2011, 12:06 PM
 
Location: SoCal
2,262 posts, read 6,269,378 times
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If I had $600k to spend on a house, I would look in Burbank (first) or Glendale (second). Good schools, walkable, lots of parks & family restaurants, etc...
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:02 PM
 
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Ok, I'll take a closer look at Burbank. We've also discovered the little area called Encino Village--we drove through and a man on his bicycle with his son shouted out at us, "Move here, it's a great place!" Beyond that, I don't know much about it.

JohnG72, your point begs the greater question of whether to buy now or sit by the sidelines and wait. Emotionally, I want to settle and nest and invest in a community...that is, if we can find it!

(I need to find and post a blog I recently came across on the aspects of renting vs. buying)
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