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Old 05-27-2010, 02:22 PM
 
Location: South Fulton
97 posts, read 214,055 times
Reputation: 56

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I'm hoping that someone can help me with this.

I really have my heart set on sending our girls to private school - at least for the elementary years. (Don't want to get into the merits of public vs. private education).

My question is HOW IN THE WORLD DOES ANYBODY AFFORD THIS STUFF!!

I mean, even for a modestly priced private school, we're looking at $19,000/year for both children once you account for tuition, before care and after care.

The hubby and I aren't struggling financially but we're not rolling in dough either.

What are some strategies that people use to help afford it?
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Old 05-27-2010, 03:02 PM
 
Location: Mableton, GA USA (NW Atlanta suburb, 4 miles OTP)
11,333 posts, read 23,513,040 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlias View Post
I'm hoping that someone can help me with this.

I really have my heart set on sending our girls to private school - at least for the elementary years. (Don't want to get into the merits of public vs. private education).
That still begs the question, however: why?

There are many excellent public elementary schools in the Atlanta metro area, and you are probably already paying for those through your property taxes.

Obviously, some people can justify the expense, or are simply wealthy enough to not care much about it. For others, reality sets in. Is the cost worth it? I personally don't see the value, but I live in an area where the local elementary schools are fairly decent.
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Old 05-27-2010, 03:07 PM
 
3,972 posts, read 11,509,137 times
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Without getting into an argument about public vs private, I have to say this... if you have limited financial resources, I would save them for private middle and high school.

Through the years, we have used a mix of public and private schools. First and foremost, again avoiding the discussion of which is better, we only splurge on private schools that we are convinced are academically better for our child(ren) than the local public school. So we spend far more than you indicated.

We drive very old cars, live in a very old house, shop rarely, and vacation infrequently. Because we use public elementary school, we were older and further along in our careers when we were (and are) paying for private schools.

We also don't find the need to keep up with the Jones which can be a problem, at some public and private schools.
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Old 05-27-2010, 04:24 PM
 
13,758 posts, read 22,681,833 times
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Our oldest requested to attend a private school, but I think he mainly was interested in the high level sports programs. We stretched to afford his tuition the first two years, then a promotion made it a moot point. We enrolled the two younger kids in private school when we moved to FL, only to find out they both would have been served better, as a gifted child and one with an IEP, if we had chosen public.

I think the key is to choose your neighborhood well. Many, many, of the public school do not get the accolades they deserve. Instead of trying to afford a private school beyond your reach, look into moving to an area where the public schools excel. In our case, it's Milton, but there are pockets of very good public schools all over the metro area.
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Old 05-27-2010, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Dunwoody,GA
2,109 posts, read 5,080,784 times
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For us, at least, we have no car payments, take VERY few vacations (never been to Disney, no fancy ski trips), and generally work our tails off. I haven't used my credit card in at least 9 months. It's not easy, but to us, it's worth it.
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Old 05-27-2010, 05:40 PM
 
Location: East Cobb
2,206 posts, read 6,287,334 times
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I respect those who make the decision, work and sacrifice to send their children to private school, and the comments about smaller homes, few vacations, etc. seem very realistic.

Like the OP, though, I'm sometimes confused. There's an element of the population here in Georgia, and on City-Data, that disapproves of public education (or as they would have it, "government schools") and frequently reiterates the recommendation that all families should send their children to private school. Philosophical differences aside, the thing I can't understand is how they think people could afford it. Considering the median family income is around $50K, it seems to me beyond obvious that well over half the population couldn't begin to financially afford to send their children to private school. Surely most private schooling families must have way over that median income and make lifestyle sacrifices.
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Old 05-28-2010, 04:07 AM
 
Location: South Fulton
97 posts, read 214,055 times
Reputation: 56
Thanks everyone for the responses. A little more background may help here.

We live in South Fulton. I love the area for the type of house, size, yard size and cost. We have family within 15 minutes of where we live and who can step in to help with the kids when needed.

1. I am not impressed with our local public school.

2. I personally believe in a solid religious-based education in the early years so that they have the foundation that I feel is important for them. Of course, we teach practical application at home but I want them to have Bible-based instruction and be in an environment where prayer and Bible study are not only Ok but encouraged. I feel this gives them the best chance of facing "the real world" later on in life. I don't particularly care for the church we attend but I go because it's where the hubby chooses but I don't "trust" them for Biblical education of our children.

3. We are not OVERLY well-off but I think we are doing pretty good for a young family so we *could* afford it; the hubby, though, is a big public school proponent so he can't quite stomach the idea of paying for school. As others have stated, we would probably not be able to buy new cars often (which I'm okay with... I will ride a car until the wheels fall off) and take fewer vacations. We're already paying several thousand a year just for day care so it's not THAT much more for a modestly priced private school but it IS more and it will be for longer than just the 4 - 5 years of daycare and pre-school.

4. Our oldest started reading before she turned 3 years old and has taught herself how to write. This is with no pushing from us as parents. So I feel that she needs a more challenging environment than our local "Distinguished Title I school" (as their web site puts it) could offer her.

5. The only other areas I can see being worth a move to are: Fayette, East or northern Cobb (but I have heard recently that even their normally good public schools are struggling in this economy), Gwinnett, Alpharetta area. We are not "northern" folks and don't prefer to move to the northside of town. Fayette area has great schools but our commutes will "suck". And any of these areas we move to means we are further from our family and friends who are our support.
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Old 05-28-2010, 08:27 AM
 
235 posts, read 495,349 times
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With those 5 points, it seems you have painted yourself into a corner. Something from that list has gotta give. The areas you mention have good schools but it would necessitate a move, which you state is undesirable for certain reasons.

Regarding biblical ed, etc, I firmly believe that what gets taught at home, both by instruction and by example, is what sticks with a kid. I went to a private school in another country, and the curriculum included Christian teaching, sometimes a good bit of it. We observed all the Christian holidays even though the country itself isn't Christian. They were not heavy-handed about it but very serious. Only problem? My family isn't Christian! My folks sent me (and my brothers) there due to the excellent academic training, and figured they could sort out the religious stuff on their own, which of course they did. I think it worked well, in that I now know and understand more about the Christian faith than the average non-Christian, but I don't follow it (that is not a judging statement; I mean that I still follow my parents' religion, which makes them happy).

We have known some people who started their kids off in private schools only to be disillusioned and switch to public. On the other hand, you may find, even if you want to send them to public after elementary, the pressures (not going there, but you might be able to guess what they are) may be high enough that you might continue in private, thereby impoverishing you further.

If I were you? I'd move to an area with good schools. You're paying the darn taxes anyway! Your good friends will remain friends and the not-so-good ones, well, you figure it out.
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Old 05-28-2010, 08:45 AM
 
Location: South Fulton
97 posts, read 214,055 times
Reputation: 56
whynot, question: What do you mean by "pressures" of moving to public? I can assume but I'd prefer not to. :-)

I was really wondering, from my original post, if there are some avenues that people know of that can help pay for private since that's what I want to do. Like, is the Coverdell account helpful? Are there scholarships that I don't know about that may be out there, etc.?
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:15 AM
 
235 posts, read 495,349 times
Reputation: 161
Pressures might include:

separating from friends made in the private school
fear of neighbors/friends looking down at you for going public after being private
your own doubts about whether the kids are doing ok
etc

Note I said "might". All or none of these may apply in your individual situation, so there is no need to address them individually here, at least as far as I'm concerned. Which is why I avoided mentioning them originally, and there might be others as well...

You asked for opinion, so here's mine. Although a product of private education myself, I am firmly behind public education in this country if the school is well rated and safe AND parents stay very much involved with their kids, both in and out of school, and do so intelligently and thoughtfully without going overboard. This is what makes good citizens and adults, and nothing can convince me otherwise. To all the people who say their kids (grown or not) are problematic and they don't know why, I say "look in the mirror".

I don't want to go into the subject of kids who don't have parents for whatever reason. This is painful and I weep for those kids, but I don't have a solution.
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